• Image of mountains and river

    Gates Of The Arctic

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Birding

Arctic tern nest hidden on a gravel bar.

Arctic tern nest

NPS Photograph Teri McMillan

Because of its endless summer sunlight, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is the summer destination of many migratory birds. In addition, there are a number of year-round residents such as the ptarmigan. A total of 145 species of birds have been observed in the Park and Preserve over the past 30 years. Aquatic birds, raptors, song birds, and many others can be seen and heard. Bird watching is a common activity for hikers and boaters in the Park. Others will find opportunities for bird-watching in Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass and Coldfoot, as well as all along the Dalton Highway.

Birding Tips:

  • Nearly half of the birds recorded in Gates of the Arctic live and nest in aquatic habitats.
  • Like many animals, birds are often more active in the morning and evening. Because the sun never sets in the summertime, the earlier you start or the later you stay up, the more success you will have.
  • Free information about birding in Alaska and books for sale are available through the Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center.

Table of common birds found in Gates of the Arctic

Bird List for Gates of the Arctic, compiled in 2000 (pdf file)

Did You Know?

The craggy Arrigetch Peaks draped in snow.

The name of the Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve comes from the Nunamiut word for "outstretched fingers."