‘Bring Birds Back’ is the main focus of the 20th annual Alaska Bird Conference

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – The conference will take place from Dec. 11 to 14 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Dena’ina
Ełnena/Anchorage, Alaska.

A special evening event of the Alaska Bird Conference, the Art and Conservation Night will be held on Dec. 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, and will include two presentations, an artist market, a silent auction, no-host bar, and light refreshments.

The theme of the conference is “Bring Birds Back,” which was chosen to highlight the large-scale decline of nearly 3 billion birds between 1970 and 2017 according to a study published in Science (Rosenberg et al. 2019).

Dr. Pete Marra, a co-author of this study and Professor of Biology and the Environment at Georgetown University, will present information related to this topic during his keynote speech at the conference.

In addition, Subhankar Banerjee, professor of Art and Ecology and director of the Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities at the University of New Mexico will present a keynote speech that focuses on two centuries of art, science, and conservation initiatives surrounding shorebirds.

A third speaker, Tuula Hollmen, a scientist at the Alaska SeaLife Center and the University of Alaska Fairbanks will shed light on mechanisms of adaptation and resilience in Arctic marine birds and how this information can help support conservation.

Besides these keynote speeches, there will be three full days of shorter presentations by bird researchers, conservationists, social scientists, and educators from across Alaska on topics like co-stewardship, human-dimensions research, contaminants, genetics, migration, population biology, rural priorities for birds, or subsistence harvest.

A special session titled Indigenous Partnership in Bird Co-Stewardship will be held on the last day (Thursday, Dec. 14) of the conference.

This session is meant to foster bird research and conservation that is inclusive of Indigenous and subsistence communities in Alaska.

Topics will include birds as food and cultural resources in Alaska Native and subsistence communities, local
and Traditional knowledge about birds, and priority topics in bird research and conservation from the local perspectives.

One presenter, Liliana Naves, will also be presented with the 2023 Isleib Award during the Thursday night banquet for her work with the Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Her work blends natural and social sciences with a focus on bird harvest assessment, local and traditional knowledge, and outreach and education.

The Epic Migrations of Birds: Peter Marra will take us on a hemispheric journey to discover
the unknown migrations of the birds, explaining the latest technologies used for tracking
and the latest efforts to save and protect these marvelous species.
Capturing the Lives of Alaska’s Birds: Gerrit Vyn, Cornell Lab of Ornithology Producer and a
Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers will share sights,
sounds, and spectacles of birdlife in Alaska—including the largest seabird colonies on St.
George Island, an intimate moment at the nest of a Bar-tailed Godwit, and the massive
migration of King Eiders as they head north to breed.

See the Alaska Bird Conference website for the full schedule of events, including plenary speakers and oral and poster presentations. People can also register online.

The conference and community event have been organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Management program with significant contributions and logistical support from other U.S. Fish and Wildlife programs; U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center; Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program; Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management; Audubon Alaska; Alaska Biological Research Associates, Inc., and others.