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Bird Migration at Copper River Delta in Alaska

This spectacular mass bird migration attracts people from all around the world. It’s something that can’t be missed!

Best time: early May

Bird Migration at Copper River Delta

Watch millions of shorebirds migrating through Cordova! Every May in this area people can witness a unique natural phenomenon. It may be especially interesting for wildlife photographers because the pictures taken during the migration can be truly amazing.

Around five millions of shorebirds, raptors, waterfowls, and songbir​ds take a short break on the Copper River Delta during their way back from the wintering areas. Besides pure birdwatching, you can join Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival; includes competitions, meetings, and some fun events too.

Practical info

When is the usual Copper River Delta bird migration?

Early May marks bird migration in Copper River Delta, frequented by millions of shorebirds, raptors, waterfowls and songbirds making their way back from winter habitats towards breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere. This phenomenon is one of the largest of its kind worldwide. Show more

What are some viewing spots for Copper River Delta's migration?

Sheridan Glacier, Pile Bay and Hartney Bay State Park are some locations in Copper River Delta that offer ideal bird watching views while the mudflats near Hartney Bay harbor the highest population of these migrant birds. Additionally, birding experts can offer guidance on capturing this spectacle in the best locations possible. Show more

Which bird species are commonly seen during migration at Copper River Delta?

Western Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher and Black-bellied Plovers are among the most frequently observed bird species during Copper River Delta's migration season. Red-necked Phalarope, Least Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover are other bird species also present, and the migration is not limited to shorebirds alone, with raptors, waterfowls, and songbirds also making appearances. Show more

Is there a festival or special event related to Copper River Delta's bird migration season?

Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival happens in May each year, a gathering of bird lovers with diverse activities such as birding activities, guided tours, and photography contests. The festival is also family-friendly, with many children's activities, including crafts, games, and arts. A comprehensive schedule containing the year's specific events is available on the Alaska Airlines Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival website. Show more

What's the best way to travel to Copper River Delta from outside Alaska and available transportation options?

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the primary airport in Alaska and a gateway for international travelers visiting Copper River Delta. From there, visitors can catch scheduled flights on Alaska Airlines or Ravn Alaska; chartered flights are also an option to Cordova Airport. Personal transport such as taxi or car rental from Cordova can be utilized to get to Copper River Delta efficiently and comfortably. Show more

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