Estuaries occur where freshwater rivers meet the salt waters of the ocean. They are one of most biologically rich habitats on Earth, thanks to the mixing of nutrients from both the land and sea.
Where conditions are challenging for plant growth, estuaries are made up of non-vegetated mud or sand flats that are full of invertebrates. Millions of migrating and wintering shorebirds, such as Dunlin and Western Sandpiper, rely on these mudflats. In other estuarine zones, plants thrive to create the tidal salt and brackish marshes that are both foraging and nesting areas for birds. Eelgrass beds are highly productive forage and nursery areas for Brant and other waterfowl and waterbirds.
Habitats Our Birds Need
Arctic and Subarctic Tundra
Alaska has vast expanses of arctic and subalpine tundra characterized by low temperatures, permafrost, and a short growing season.
Coastal Dunes and Beaches
Coastal dunes and beach communities face a dynamic, harsh environment that requires plants to have unique survival mechanisms.
Conifer forests, including our magnificent temperate rainforests, dominate the Pacific Northwest from California to southeast Alaska.
Hawaiian Montane Forest
‘Ohi’a and in some areas koa trees dominate the canopy of the lush cloud forests found on the higher elevations of Kaua’i, Maui, Hawai’i, O’ahu, and Moloka’i.
Hawaii’s freshwater wetlands support the Ae’o, or Hawaiian Stilt, and five other species of endemic, endangered waterbirds.
Intertidal Rocky Shorelines
Rocky shorelines along the North Pacific coastline occupy the region between high and low tide.
An atoll is a coral reef island, or islets. They are are characteristically ring-shaped with a central lagoon, and sometimes a central island.
Riparian corridors occur along rivers and streams and across floodplains and terraces.