Covering approximately 4.6 million acres (larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined), the Alaska Peninsula/Becharof National Wildlife Refuge includes an immense variety of habitats and is home to more than 200 species of birds.

Alaska is a birder’s paradise thanks to its diversity of habitats, location on migratory routes, and boundless wild lands. From the Arctic pack ice to the rainforests of Southeast to the windswept Aleutian Islands, nearly 500 bird species populate or pass through the Great Land seeking breeding, overwintering, resting, and refueling sites.

Wading birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl rely on Alaska’s vast wetlands, lakes, and rivers, as well as its more than 40,000 miles of coastline. Migratory and resident songbirds, woodpeckers, and raptors seek shelter in its expansive forests. Exotic Asian “strays” that wander off course often wind up in Alaska and onto the life lists of delighted bird watchers.

But Alaska isn’t just for the serious birder. Many people simply enjoy watching their backyard birds. Other birds, which we’ve dubbed “The All Stars,” delight us with their tricks, populate our myths, and serve as harbingers of change.