There is a bird hotline, 424-BIRD, announcing sightings of birds like the semi-palmated plover.

That’s basically what a bird is to me, a flying pooper. Growing up in Seldovia, infested with seagulls getting fat on the leftovers from five salmon canneries, it was never wise to go outside without a hat on. So when I started to hear about entire festivals constructed around migrating birds, I was mystified, and decided to investigate. The Copper River Shorebird Festival is one of the oldest in Alaska (depending on who you talk to, this year is either the tenth or fifteenth annual event), it’s a forty-minute plane ride from Anchorage, and has the superior attraction of being home to the family Carlson, genus Patricia, species Hank, Deb, and Chris, order Joanna, David and Annie, also known as my mom’s side of the family, from whom I can always cadge a bed and fresh razor clams, smoked salmon, and nagoonberry jelly. I packed my binoculars and a copy of Robert Armstrong’s Birds of Alaska and set out on my first ever bird safari.

Dana Stabenow. Alaska Traveler (Kindle Locations 2905-2911). Gere Donovan Press.

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