Aerial Population Surveys of Common Eiders and other waterbirds NW Alaska

Bollinger, Karen S.
Platte, Robert M.
U.S.F.W.S. Division of Migratory Bird Management
Publication Date: 

ABSTRACT Aerial surveys of Pacific common eiders (Somateria mollissima v-nigrum) and other waterbirds during the breeding season were conducted from 2006 through 2009 along the northwestern coast of Alaska from Point Romanof to Omalik Lagoon, a distance of approximately 2729 km of coastline. The survey design was tested in 2006 for only the southern part of the area.
In 2007, only the northern coastline area and lagoons of the Seward Peninsula were flown. Survey design was standardized for the 2008 and 2009 surveys. Although this survey was designed specifically for common eiders, observers counted all species of birds, except small passerines. Observations of all large land and sea mammals were also recorded. The survey area consisted of coastal habitats, including inlets, bays, barrier islands, coastal lagoons, and all other near-coastal waters. Total numbers of common eiders averaged 4326 birds and indicated pairs averaged 1426 for 2008-2009. Distribution was similar between years. This survey, together with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Waterbird Survey and the Arctic Coastal Plain Common Eider Survey, provide continuous survey coverage of the breeding range of common eiders along the coast of Alaska from the Yukon Delta north and east to the Canadian border. Recommendations are made for a final design of the Northwestern Alaska Common Eider Survey.
Key Words Common Eider, Somateria mollissima v-nigrum , aerial survey, waterfowl, Northwestern Alaska, Western Alaska, Chukchi Sea, Northwestern Alaska Common Eider Survey.