• Sunset view of Glacier Bay and the surrounding Fairweather Mountains.

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Activity #1: Speaking Bird

 
tufted puffin

Procedure

1. Student Worksheet: Speak Bird!
Divide students into small groups and distribute the Student Worksheet: Speak Bird. Assign to each group one of the Seabird Categories listed below.

Seabird Categories:

  • Seabird Families/Types
  • Feeding/Food
  • Behaviors
  • Physiology
  • Concerns
  • Habitats

Allow sufficient time for students to research as many of the resources listed below and on the Resources page as are feasible.

As students read the material, have them follow the instructions on the worksheet to create a seabird glossary for their assigned topic. Ask students to compile their glossaries and then make them available to all students to aid help them in completing this activity.

 

2. Glacier Bay Bird Groups
Now, divide among the small groups the birds from the list of Glacier Bay's seabirds below. Using the Resources, have students record information about their assigned birds for each of the Seabird Categories listed in Step 1. Students will use the compiled class glossary to help them in their research. They should add words to the glossary as needed. Pictures of these birds can be found on the Student Resource: Birds of Glacier Bay.

Birds for Step 2:

Arctic Tern Tufted Puffins Horned Puffins
Black-legged Kittiwake Common Murre Pelagic Cormorant
Kittlitz's Murrelet Marbled Murrelet Parasitic Jaeger
Glaucous-winged Gull Pigeon Guillemont Red necked Phalaropes
White-winged Scoters Semipalmated Plover Mew Gull
Spotted Sandpiper Black Oystercatcher Harlequin Duck


 

3. Important Areas for Glacier Bay Seabirds
Mix up the research groups to form 6 teams associated with the Glacier Bay areas listed below. Members of each of the teams will represent different birds researched in Step 2.

Glacier Bay Habitats:

  • Beaches:
    Rocky and sandy beaches throughout Glacier Bay
  • Cliff Faces:
    Steep sea cliff faces -- South Marble Island, Cliffs South of Margerie Glacier, Tidal Inlet
  • Remote Islets:
    Small isolated islet -- Dundas Bay, Adams Inlet, Hugh Miller Inlet, Russel Island complex
  • Inshore Marine Water:
    Tidal currents and turbulence at these locations stir food organisms to the surface -- Point Carolus, Point Gustavus, Sitakaday Narrows
  • Tidal Flats/Glacial Outwash Plains:
    Flat gravel bar areas. Very open -- Adams Inlet, McBride Glacier, Grand Pacific Glacier
  • Meadows and Forests:
    Bartlett Cove, Bartlett River Estuary, Gustavus, Beardslee Islands
 

4. Create Skits
Using the class seabird glossary and information from their research, have each team create and perform skits. In the skits, they will portray birds living and interacting with each other at the location the teams have been assigned. Remind students that interactions can include arguments, friendly rivalry, angry debate, educational lecture (elder to youth), gossip, etc.

 
 

Extension 1:
Choose one of the birds featured in the above activity. Research the bird's history and biology in depth. Then, write a series of diary entries in the voice of the bird as it lives for one week in Glacier Bay. Use the diary to give as much information about the bird to the reader as possible.

 

Did You Know?

Equisetum

The gritty, silica-rich stems of horsetails were traditionally used for cleaning and some would say rival the finest of steel wools.