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Mat-Su Birding

The Mat-Su Valley is a birder's paradise, with opportunities to see hundreds of species of birds throughout the year. Thousands of migratory birds come through the Mat-Su Valley each year, while countless others call the Valley home full-time. Keep your eyes to the skies, as you'll undoubtedly see eagles and ravens, as well as a wide variety of other species.

The Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge is one of the most popular birding spots in all of Alaska. Raptors such as the Northern Harrier, Rough-legged hawk and short-eared owl can be seen regularly during migration. Additionally, warblers, sparrows, thrushes and other songbirds frequent the area. This area has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the International BirdLife and National Audobon Society.

Farther north on the Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway, the Sheep Mountain area is popular, particularly during late April when the annual Hawkwatch takes place. Some difficult to find species that occur in the area include the Arctic Warbler, Gyrfalcon, White-winged Crossbill and the Northern Hawk Owl.

Some other ideal birding locations in the Mat-Su Valley include Hatcher Pass and Reflections Lake. Expect to see various species of ducks, grebes, finches, flycatchers, thrushes and even trumpeter swans during the spring and fall migration periods.

For more information, visit the excellent web site of the Mat-Su Birders. For a complete checklist of all Alaska birds, click here.