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Status and Distribution of Alaska Birds

Brina Kessel, Daniel D. Gibson
Studies in Avian Biology
Online Text


Introduction, 1
Brina Kessel, Daniel D. Gibson
Patterns of Distribution, 1-3
Brina Kessel, Daniel D. Gibson
Selected List of Species, 3-91
Brina Kessel, Daniel D. Gibson
Acknowledgments, 91-92
Brina Kessel, Daniel D. Gibson
Literature Cited, 92-100

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Twenty-one years have elapsed since Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959) concluded data collection for their comprehensive book, Birds of Alaska. This work provided a foundation for further ornithological studies in Alaska by consolidating a wealth of previously unpublished as well as published detail on the birds of the State; and, because their treatise was remarkably complete, it continues to be the single, basic reference on the birds of Alaska. Information has accumulated, however, at an ever increasing rate in the years since its publication. Seventy-five species have been added to those known to have occurred in Alaska, of which 30 have been new also to North America; and the status and distribution of more than half of Alaska’s species are now known to be substantially different from those outlined by Gabrielson and Lincoln (op. cit.). The quantity of recent data, coupled with the need for it by ornithologists, wildlife managers, environmentalists, and others, has prompted the preparation of the following updated compilation. In this compilation, we have used Gabrielson and Lincoln (op. cit.) as a base and have included only those birds for which the earlier volume no longer gives a satisfactory picture. For each of these species, we have prepared a complete account of its current status and distribution in Alaska. Alaska’s extensive and deeply sculptured coastline and the nearness of Siberia across the Bering Sea have presented problems in geographically defining Alaska, especially in terms of seabird distribution. Our solution has been to outline Alaska using 1) the political boundary dividing Alaska and Canada, 2) the international dateline bisecting the Chukchi and Bering seas between Alaska and Siberia, and 3) the 200-nautical mile (370 km) fisheries economic zone elsewhere along the coastline (see Fig. 1). The resulting geographic area encompasses approximately 5,191,655 km2 (2,004,500 statute mi”), two-thirds the area of the contiguous 48 states of the United States, and extends across 27 degrees of latitude and 62 degrees of longitude.

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