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

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Seabirds Lesson Plans

Kittiwakes and glacier face
Black-legged kittiwakes feed near glaciers
 
seabirds powerpoint

Glacier Bay Seabirds
Check out this slideshow to learn more about seabirds in Glacier Bay.

Powerpoint presentation

 

A seabird is exactly that: a bird that spends most of its life at or on the sea, which includes the ocean and coastal waters. Some seabirds spend all of their lives on or near water and depend on it for their food; some are part-time seafarers, choosing to build their nests in marshes. Glacier Bay is home to more than 225 different species of birds, including varieties of gulls, kittiwakes, murres, murrelets, guillemots, loons, puffins, terns and cormorants. Some of these birds are more at home in the Arctic tundra or Aleutian grassland than in Southeast Alaska. Glaciers, and the water they produce, drew the birds here, along with long summer days and abundant food.

Seabirds are considered an indicator species and researchers watch them closely. Because they live long lives and mature slowly, changes in certain aspects of their behavior, such as reproduction rates, can indicate or signal emerging changes in the larger marine environment.

 

This unit invites students to learn more about these important birds, especially those living in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. They will study the natural history of many of the seabirds of Glacier Bay, the habitats in which they live and the pressures put on their lives by predators and humans.

This unit is designed for grades 5-8. Activities and handouts usually will be written to upper elementary and lower middle school levels with some extensions to adjust for the younger and older students.

 
kittiwakes on nests

Kittiwakes nest on sheer cliff faces

Seabirds Background

Unit Outline

Instructional Resources

Activity #1
Speaking Bird

Activity #2
Field Guide to Glacier Bay Seabirds

Activity #3
Migrants to Glacier Bay

National Standards
Science, English/Language Arts, Geography, Mathematics, Social Studies

 

Did You Know?

Lamplugh Glacier wall of blue ice

When Captain George Vancouver surveyed Southeast Alaska in 1794, the wall of ice that filled the bay was (at its greatest extent) 100 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 4,000 feet thick. Just 250 years later, this same ice has retreated 65 miles, the fastest glacial retreat on record.