Alaska Audubon WatchList brings attention to declining birds species in Alaska

Published: Oct. 25, 2017 at 6:39 PM AKDT
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Many of Alaska's birds help identify environmental risks, the Audubon Alaska said.

The 2017 Alaska Watchlist is a list of bird species across Alaska that is a vulnerable species or a declining bird population across Alaska, Alaska Audubon said.

The list's criteria are based on global population size, minimum range, area importance and population trend. The population trend is the highest ranking criteria. The trend factors how declining populations are a greater risk than stable or increasing populations said, Alaska Audubon.

One of the species that is on the red list is the Bar-Tailed Godwit.

Audubon Executive Director, Nils Warnock said, one problem facing Alaskans birds like the Bar-Tailed Godwit is when they migrate for winter to high-density populations.

"We are seeing a rapidly increasing human population using up a lot of resources at the same time we are seeing a rapidly warming world as a consequence," Warnock said.

"The food web is being interrupted most likely by warmer waters than by other factors associated by that and birds are starving," he said.

Warnock said, while there are challenges bird species face there are also success stories.

In the early 1980s, the Emperor Goose population was at a significant decline. Hunting and subsistence harvest were not allowed until the Emperor Goose reached a count of 80,000 birds. For this first time this year, the average count of 80,000 birds was reached and a limited subsistence hunt was resumed in rural Alaska.