Audubon Alaska executive director visits Kodiak

Short-tailed albatross. (Photo by Tony Morris / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The executive director of Audubon Alaska is in Kodiak this week to speak about the organization’s list of vulnerable birds.

Nils Warnock says the group updated it last year.

“It’s our list of species that we basically want people to keep track of ‘cause there’s indications that something might be going on with those populations.”

He says every five or so years they update the list and score birds on global population size, geographic range, presence in Alaska, and proof of declining number.

Warnock says birds like the spectacled eider and Steller’s eider in Northern and Western Alaska are on the federal list of threatened species.

He says another at-risk bird is the short-tailed albatross, which is occasionally seen in Kodiak waters.

“That was what we would call a depressed population where short tails breed in Japan on a few islands and, historically, they occurred in the millions, but by the 1950s they were assumed to have gone extinct mostly because of plume hunting for their feathers on their breeding grounds.”

He says that population is increasing, but it’s remained on the watch-list, which includes 35 species. The biggest declines seem to be in the sea birds and shore birds, says Warnock.

He’ll talk more about the species at the Kodiak Public Library Friday starting at 7 p.m.

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