As spring arrives on the Seward Peninsula in northwest Alaska, the last remnants of another harsh winter fade away. On the coast, sea ice is pushed north into the Chukchi Sea. Springtime brings a flurry of feathered visitors from all corners of the world.
Over 160 species of shorebirds, seabirds, and songbirds travel to the Seward Peninsula each year to mate, nest and breed during the short Arctic summer. In the 53 mile expanse of the Bering Strait, an estimated 12 million seabirds congregate in spring.
Scientists are still not sure why some birds, like the Arctic Tern, migrate such extreme distances. This little bird has the longest migration of any animal on Earth. It travels over 44,000 miles each year, all the way from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle.
The journey is long and arduous for all birds. Weather, predators, and lack of food are all obstacles which must be overcome. Scientists are still not sure why some birds migrate such extreme distances.
However, once they reach their breeding grounds, they are safe from most predators. And enjoy an abundance of food. And, thanks to the midnight sun, birds are able to feed around the clock.
While a hardy few stay year-round, such as the Common Raven, August marks the beginning of another long migration for most birds, this time south to their wintering grounds.
Soon, snow will blanket the far north yet again, and the cycle will continue for years to come.
Whether you are at home, or planning a visit to Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, you can do your part to help preserve the bird migration route. Avoid nesting sites and give birds the space they need.
Serpentine Hot Springs Take a video tour of Serpentine Hot Springs (aka "Iyat"), to learn about what makes it so special and how you can plan your trip to this incredible place.
Local Perspectives on Climate Change Learn about climate change in the arctic from a local perspective through a short film produced by Bering Land Bridge National Preserve on Youtube.
Due to the effects of climate change, the community of Shishmaref is preparing to move to the mainland as their island rapidly erodes away. Several youth from the community were interviewed on their thoughts regarding this transition and their subsistence lifestyles utilizing the resources from Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.
Renee, a youth from Shishmaref, is interviewed about her community being moved inland due to erosion from climate change. She talks about her traditional lifestyle and thoughts on what might change in the future.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is one place in Alaska where you can see muskox, but that wasn't always the case. Discover the history of the reintroduction of muskox to the Seward Peninsula and the rest of Alaska in this podcast.
You will need QuickTime to view. Use the link here to download QuickTime for free.
Learn more about what the ARCN staff does in this short video.
The Arctic Network or ARCN, is responsible for the monitoring of the health and progression of the ecosystems in five national park units in Alaska: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park and Noatak National Preserve.
A lightning strike ignites a fire in the preserve. The fire burns for a week and then rain puts it out. In about 7 years, a visitor could walk on the burned site having no idea there once was a fire under his or her feet. This speedy site re-vegetation is typical of tundra fire adapted ecosystems.