Between 1952 and 1988, wc studied the abundance, distribution, occurrence, and habitats used by birds in the northwest portion of Bristol Bay and the adjacent Kilbuck and Ahklun mountains. In the 809 days we were present, we conducted 53 studies or surveys of birds in the region. We gathered information on 185 species, of which 65% (121) nested, 10% (19) probably nested, and 11% (21) were permanent residents in the region. Most breeding or probably breeding forms were of North American (58%; 81) or Beringian (24%; 33) affinity, while the remainder of the species were of Panboreal (17%; 24) and Old World (1%; 2) affinity. Similarly, most of the 44 migrants and visitants were of North American (41%; 18) affinity, while the remainder were of Beringian (32%; 14) and Panboreal (27%; 12) affinity. Of the 140 species that nested or probably nested, 53% (73) were abundant to fairly common, 29% (40) were uncommon to very rare, and 20% (27) were localized. Shrub thicket, dwarf shrub mat, coniferous forest, deciduous forest, mixed deciduous-coniferous forest, and fluviatile water and shoreline habitats supported the greatest diversity of species breeding and suspected of breeding. The highest concentrations of birds occurred in the estuaries of Nanvak, Chagvan, and Goodnews bays during spring and fall migrations and on the coastal and island cliffs during the breeding season.
The information presented here provides the basis for range extensions of several species. Our records further clarify the known or probable Alaska breeding ranges of 11 species (fork-tailed storm-petrel, Oceanodroma furcata; double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus; red-faced cormorant, Phatacrocorax utile, brant, Branta bernicla; king eider, Somateria spectabilis; white-tailed ptarmigan, Lagopus leucurus; black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola; Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva; lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes; Say's phoebe, Sayomis saya; and Bohemian waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus). We also provide further information on distributions or documentation of unusual occurrences for nine taxa (frigatebird, Fregata spp.; Baikal teal, Anas formosa; American kestrel, Falco sparverius; Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus; bristle-thighed curlew, Numenius tahitiensis; slaty-backed gull, Larus schistisagus; rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus; song sparrow, Melospiza melodia; and red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus). We provide quantitative data on the coastal migration of 11 species along Bristol Bay (red-throated loon, Gavia stellata; Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica; pelagic cormorant, Phalacrocorax pelagicus; emperor goose, Chen canagica; brant; Steller's eider, Polysticta stellen; common eider, Somateria mollissima; king eider; black scoter, Melanina nigra; white-winged scoter, Melanina fusca; and surf scoter, Melanina perspicillatd). We document changes in nesting densities, differences in numbers, or habitat variations of 32 species in response to human activities (e.g., semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus; arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea; tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, varied thrush, Ixoreus naevius; yellow-rumped warbler, Dendroica coronata; and American tree sparrow, Spizella arborea). We report the changes in a major colony of Aleutian terns (Sterna aleatico) at irregular intervals over 50 years.