Field Trips

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PLEASE NOTE: You can register for field trips as part of regular meeting registration. To add a field trip AFTER you have registered for the meeting, follow these steps:

  • Log in to the Portal with your username and password.
  • From your Portal homepage, select “View My Event Registrations” under the Events section on the right side of the page.
  • Find your AOS 2019 registration and click “change sessions.” From there, you can add or remove field trips and other sessions and then proceed to the checkout for payment.

Out of town trips:

Trip 1 A, B. Eiders, Shorebirds, and Loons, Oh My! Utqiagvik, Alaska

Trip 2. Denali Highway and Denali National Park and Preserve

Trip 3. Birding and Boating from Bethel, in Yup’ik Homeland

Trip 4 A, B. Prince William Sound Seabirds, Glaciers, Otters, and Whales—from Whittier, Alaska: Restoration of Seabird Populations Damaged by the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Trip 5. Nome—A Subarctic Alaska Birding Adventure

Trip 6. Seabirds and Glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park (Seward by Train)

Trip 7. Seabirds and Glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, 2-day Option

Trip 8 A, B, C. St. Paul Island Seabirds

Local trips:

Trip 10 (daily). Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage

Trip 11. Crow Pass Trail: Waterfalls, Mines, and Glaciers

Trip 12. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (early morning bird walks)

Trip 13. Girdwood: Winner Creek Trail and Alyeska Aerial Tram

Trip 14 A, B, C. Alaska Native Medical Center Craft Shop

Trip 15. Potter Marsh and Bird Treatment & Learning Center

Trip 16. Arctic Valley: Exploring the Alaskan Alpine

Trip 17. Campbell Creek Estuary

Trip 18. Chugach State Park: Glen Alps

Trip 19. Chugach State Park: Williwaw Lakes

Trip 20. Matanuska–Susitna Valley: Birds, Bogs, & Brews

trip schedule


Anchorage is your gateway to Alaska! Anchorage is nestled on a peninsula formed by two arms of upper Cook Inlet and is backdropped by the spectacular Chugach Mountains. The city itself is interlaced with large, natural parks and bike trails, which allow ready access to birds nesting in bogs and forest. The urban area is bordered by the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge skirting Cook Inlet, where early-migrant shorebirds will be congregating along its mudflats and Sandhill Cranes and many species of water birds will be nesting and foraging in its marshes. The immense (495,000-acre) Chugach State Park encompasses the lower slopes and rugged peaks of the Chugach Mountains. This wilderness area affords many routes into the backcountry, where raptors, all three species of ptarmigan, and many alpine-nesting shorebirds and landbirds can be found.

Anchorage also offers passageways to other vast wilderness areas of Alaska by road, railway, and air, where you will be able to observe the incredible diversity of birds and other wildlife the state has to offer.

We have assembled a broad array of field trips for experiences of a lifetime! These range from short, local trips before, during, and after the conference, to longer multi-day adventures before and after the conference to more remote areas. Although most of the trips will be focused on seeing birds and wildlife, we also have several that will be exploring our rich Alaska Native culture. Most of our field trips are family friendly, so please read the descriptions carefully to see which would provide memorable experiences for your spouses and children!

Local birding trips include day-long and evening hikes to coastal and alpine areas, visits to a muskox farm, a ride up a mountain tram, and a couple of chances to sample regional brewpubs. We have longer trips by road, rail, and boat venturing south to explore marine habitats of the North Pacific, where seabird rookeries and marine mammals abound. We also have trips heading north to explore the amazing taiga and alpine tundra biomes of interior Alaska. Trips farther afield will explore the arctic and subarctic biomes from various sites in northern and western Alaska. All of our field trips will be led by local ornithologists or naturalists familiar with the area; some will be hosted by researchers at their field sites. We will take maximum advantage of the almost continuous daylight hours we will have so close to summer solstice!

For each of the field trips we have provided a description of the itinerary and terrain, the birds and other wildlife likely to be seen, the expected costs, and what expenses are covered by registration fees. For most of the local trips, the AOS registration fee will cover all costs. For some of the more remote trips, participants will need to make some individual arrangements for airfare, lodging, and food, all of which are detailed in the description. A few field trips will be paid for separately by participants through a local tour company. We ask that you register for all trips via the AOS portal (see top of page for instructions) even if there is no AOS registration fee so that we can track the number of participants and offer more options, if needed. The only exception to this is for trips to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, for which there are many free shuttles from downtown so that attendees and their families can decide on the spur of the moment when they’d like to go.

We urge you to register early to ensure access to your chosen field trips. All field trips will begin and end at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel unless stated otherwise. The routes planned are subject to minor changes, based on the decision of the group leaders to optimize birding opportunities.

AOS reserves the right to cancel any trips that are not adequately subscribed by March 1, 2019. Please contact the meeting organizers if you have questions about any particular trip. Any of the field trips that require separate reservations for airfare and lodging will be held regardless of number of registrants.

In other cases, if trips have few registrants, we will attempt to move participants into another similar field trip that fits the person’s schedule. If you register for a trip and later find you cannot make that field trip, we will work with you to determine whether you can be moved into another field trip. For any questions about field trips or registration or to be put on a waiting list for a particular field trip, please contact the meeting organizers.

field trip map
Map of Alaska, showing major highway system (in yellow) and locations where various field trips will be exploring (red pins). Please see individual descriptions for more detailed maps.