Birds of Denali - Autumn
Many bird species, such as the tundra swan, use Denali National Park & Preserve not as a breeding ground, but as an important resting and feeding stop during migration. Because many birds make numerous touchdowns during these epic journeys, intact habitat along traditional routes is vital to the present and future success of migratory species.
In Denali, fall migration spans 3 months. Some species, such as the surfbird, take flight as early as late July. Others, such as the golden eagle, may wait until the first part of October to begin their journey south.
After the last of the avian migrants have departed, fewer than 25 year-round species remain to face winter in Denali. Autumn is, for these resident birds, the last opportunity to take advantage of late season food supplies and relatively mild weather.
In autumn, the skies over Denali National Park & Preserve can be host to thousands of migrating birds each day. Some species are destined for such far away places as South America, Africa, Asia, or Antarctic waters. Others travel no farther than southern Alaska, Canada, or the continental US. Many of these birds are youngsters who, in the span of only a few short months, manage to hatch, grow, learn to fly, and endeavor to follow the ancient migratory paths of their ancestors.
Last updated: April 14, 2015