Where Are They Now?

Your favorite fledglings all grown up

They’ve all got one thing in common: they got their start in the Arctic!

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Snowy Owl, back when floof was in style. Photo by Melissa Groo
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Despite some bad lemming years, Snowy Owl’s rep confirmed that she and her mate for life welcomed an owlet earlier this year. Looks like the midnight sun wasn’t the only thing keeping them up all hours!

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Peek-a-boo owlet. Now a mother herself, Snowy Owl stays with her chick while her mate hunts. Photos by Melissa Groo

Once a wee chick bobbling around the tundra with his siblings, Buff invested in some property this past summer in Arctic Refuge in hopes of attracting a mate. “It’s my dance pad.” On finally adulting? “I lek it a lot” he said. Wait, that’s what she said. And then she took what she needed and raised the kids elsewhere.

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Male buff-breasted sandpipers gather in small groups called “leks” to try and outdo each other in catching the attention of females. USFWS/Shiloh Schulte

Where is he now? The lek disbanded (for now) and all the Buffs have flown south. They’ll winter in South America.

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Red Phalarope chicks. USFWS/Lisa Hupp
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Adult Red Phalarope. USFWS/Lisa Hupp

A long way from her downy camouflage beginnings in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Red Phalarope summered in Alaska as breeding adult this year. She’s now off with the whales after a glamorous Siberian tour. Migrating mainly on oceanic routes and wintering at sea on tropical oceans, Red and her friends are making their way via the Chuchki and Bering Seas to somewhere off the coast of South America to spend the winter: a few have been tracked all the way south to the Galapagos in years past.

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Tagged Red Phalarope movements as of 23 September, 2019. Contact Rick Lanctot at richard_lanctot@fws.gov for more info.
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Well-hidden American Golden Plover nest in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS/Shiloh Schulte
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American Golden-Plover adult. USFWS/Shiloh Schulte

From mottled beginnings to jetting around the world, this plover has seen and been through a lot, including a last minute change in course earlier this month to avoid Hurricane Dorian on his way south:

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Birds we’re tracking veered inland to avoid Hurricane Dorian this year.

Each year, these birds fly a large elliptical migration pattern, from the high Arctic (where they are born) to the Caribbean and South America, and back. Their migration south takes them across Arctic Canada followed by a nonstop flight over the Atlantic Ocean. Sometime between late January and the end of April, they fly north to the arctic to breed, but travel through the central portions of South and North America.

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Pectoral Sandpiper chick. USFWS/Lisa Hupp
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USFWS/Peter Pearsall

On their tundra breeding grounds, males inflate and deflate an air sac in their breast to create low-pitched hooting sounds. The ladies dig it.

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Pectoral Sandpiper: a chest always so puffed guy. USFWS/Peter Pearsall

Where are they now? Waaay south.

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Contact Rick Lanctot at richard_lanctot@fws.gov for more tracking info.

Want to learn more about the birds that got their start in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Visit www.arcticbirdfest.com


Katrina Liebich works for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

In Alaska we are shared stewards of world renowned natural resources and our nation’s last true wild places. Our hope is that each generation has the opportunity to live with, live from, discover and enjoy the wildness of this awe-inspiring land and the people who love and depend on it.

U.S.Fish&Wildlife Alaska

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Stories from Alaska by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Updates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

U.S.Fish&Wildlife Alaska

Written by

Stories from Alaska by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Updates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

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