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Updated: March 13, 2017.

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GENERAL MEETING THURSDAY, April 13, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

University of Alaska Southeast

Recreation Center Room 116


Underwater Life In Juneau

Annette Smith

 Free and open to the public

Info at 321-4739

Text Box: Option 2:
Dates:  April 6, 13, 20, 27
(4 classes)
Day:  Thursday
Time:  7:00 to 8:30pm
Location:  Mendenhall River Community School, Library - 9001 Mendenhall Loop Rd. (back loop)
Class Fee:  $30.00
Instructor:  Patricia Wherry
Just in time for the Spring Migration: Beginning Birding Classes


Dates:  April 6, 13, 20, 27 (4 classes)

Day:  Thursday

Time:  7:00 to 8:30pm

Location:  Mendenhall River Community School, Library - 9001 Mendenhall Loop Rd. (back loop)

Class Fee:  $30.00

Instructor:  Patricia Wherry

Sign up for an adult oriented class through Community Schools.  Expect a great deal of fun!


 APRIL 29 & MAY 13


8:30 AM Departure from Statter Harbor at Auke Bay


Tickets on sale in April at Hearthside Books.


Adults $70 Students $40 Children under 12 $25 (must be accompanied by adult)


Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure.  Cruise lasts 4 hours.  Juneau Audubon Society members will be on board as natural history interpreters.

JAS Supporting Bird Research and Monitoring

by Gwen Baluss

As an organization JAS has historically been focused on environmental education and conservation in Southeast Alaska, with a focus on birds and wildlife.  This is still true, but we also recognize the importance of monitoring and research, especially of bird population for both our migratory and resident species. Here are a few ways we help.

Text Box: Bob Armstrong

Christmas Bird Count – this is a long-standing, wide range count that Audubon supports.  The data from the CBC is now being used to see how birds’ winter range, distribution and populations have changed over time. Comparing this with climate data we can see how some birds have shifted northwards in the winter.

Other citizen science efforts - we are always encouraging our members to use eBird so their data can be pooled with this great emerging database. Specifically, we try to publicize special count events such as the Great Backyard Bird Count, and the Global Big day. Even our field trips are usually entered in to eBird and make for several fairly consistent springtime “snap shots” of the bird life, with plenty of skilled observers.

Tree Swallow Nest Boxes – as a group aerial insectivores have declined.  It’s hard to believe, but the once common Barn Swallow has dwindled to the point that the species is listed as Threatened in Canada.  Tree swallows face similar feeding challenges to other insectivores. By getting a population occupying boxes annually near Juneau we can initiate further studies.

Arctic Tern Monitoring – New this year, JAS in partnership with US Forest Service plans to sponsor an Intern who will study and help protect Arctic Terns around Mendenhall Lake.

Text Box: Bob Armstrong
Supporting continental scale bird-banding studies – We donate up to $500 annually to the Institute for Bird Populations. The IBP maintains banding stations in both summer and winter throughout North America as well as Central America and the Caribbean. This is now a powerful large scale data set that checks the pulse of many bird species population fluxes, including some of our migratory songbirds.  (For more info see

Moose in Juneau: sometimes it’s not so crazy to hope

By Gwen Baluss

I’ve hung my rain cap here in Juneau for most the time since 1998. Something I always pondered is, where are the moose? It didn’t seem fair that Gustavus and Petersburg would have them, and Juneau didn’t. They were up the Taku and Berners Rivers, but wouldn’t venture in between? I made it a point to bring up my inquiry in conversations with biologists, naturalists, and hunters. Sometimes the answer was "lack of habitat". I never bought this one, as I looked around at plenty of the plants that the browsers enjoy in other parts of Southeast: willow, highbush cranberry, even blueberry.

A more persuasive answer was simply "dispersal rate." According to ADF&G reports, moose only started appearing in Southeast Alaska in general in the early twentieth century. The moose simply hadn’t found this habitat that, on geologic terms, is new and still being uncovered as glaciers recede. And the fact that other communities were colonized first had to do with proximity to a direct river from interior Alaska-- and some luck.

There had been a few sightings over the years around Juneau though. I even saw the pellets of a cow that had been reported at, of all places, Moose Lake. I eagerly awaited the day when more moose would show up near the Juneau Road system.

Starting in fall 2013, I noticed tracks and browse around Point Bridget State Park, apparently of a cow and at least one calf. A Juneau Empire story reported sightings "out the road" as well that fall. The following year, I found more tracks and sign. But despite many hours devoted to sneaking around in the rain, never saw even a glimpse. Finally, in fall 2015, I had the incredible luck to see a cow, a grown bull and small bull, all together near Cowee Creek.

And the excitement builds as recently there has been solid evidence of a cow and bull in Mendenhall Valley; also, a cow in the Thunder Mountain bowl and a young bull at Boy Scout Beach.

Where did these moose come from? Perhaps some DNA work will tell us in the years to come. It seems most likely that the animals traveled from Berners Bay. That population there was introduced in 1958 and 1960 with 17 and 11 animals respectively, stock from the Mat-su Valleys. But of course, wildlife dispersal is not always as one would assume.

Moose dispersed into Southeast Alaska from British Columbia. The Anderson subspecies (Alces alces andersoni) colonized different areas in a complex pattern, sometimes established by only a few "founders", but with potential for mixing with subsequent incursions of the larger interior Alaska moose subspecies (Alces alces gigas), especially in the Haines and Yakutat areas. (An interesting write up about this can be found here:

What’s going to happen next? A handful of animals is hardly a population yet, but at least we have the right elements to spur the imagination. Juneau will be different if moose become frequent denizens. I wonder about the human and wildlife interactions. Will drivers learn to slow down going out the road in the evenings? Will animals be shot by poachers? How many loose dogs will be stomped if there is a mom and calf roaming the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation area?

Nobody is more eager to see the moose than I, but cringe the community might love the animals to death: naming them, feeding them, approaching too close to get photos. ("Romeo" the wolf comes to mind here). Either way, it’s bound to make our fall walks around Juneau more exciting for a while.


Photo by G. Baluss (taken with a zoom lens while hiding, breathless, behind a log).

Moose at Cowee Creek, September 22, 2015.


Eagle Feather Collection Permits

To all volunteers who collect eagle feathers under the Juneau Audubon Society US Fish & Wildlife Service permit.  JAS has received a new feather collection permit.

The permits are available by e-mail and paper from Brenda Wright.   Each of our permits are good for three years.

Contact Brenda at:

 Alaska Bald Eagle Festival - Haines, AK November 14 - 20, 2016

Tree Swallow Nest Box Update  2016

by Brenda Wright

In 2016 we learned from a few mistakes we made in 2015. We got the nest boxes up around Juneau between April 11 and 24 this year. Our experts let us know that the tree swallows show up here in Juneau between April 10-30. So we made a good effort to get the nest boxes out for them before April 15.

This year with volunteers from the Juneau Youth Services school we got 10 tree swallow nest boxes up at Sunny Point on the Mary Lou and Jim King’s property.

With the help of volunteers like Shirley Carlson, Patricia Wherry, Mary McCafferty, Kari Monagle, Ron Berg, Helen Unruh, Gwen Baluss, Chip McMillan family, Ann & Alan Doty, Squires family, Ann Post, & Amanda Pilley we were able to get 40 tree swallow nest boxes in place. This year we placed boxes at Fish Creek on North Douglas, Sunny Point, Pioneer Marsh, Brotherhood Bridge meadow, Glacier Community Gardens, and Mendenhall Peninsula road

Our results were increased over 2015. Of the 40 nest boxes we put out, 15 had nests. We hope that the increased use of the nest boxes was at least partly from having them in place before the tree swallows returned to Juneau.

If you or any of your friends live near the Mendenhall Peninsula Road, we would love to have permission to put some nest boxes on your property. Tree swallows prefer the wetlands over all other sites in Juneau. So please let us know of sites near the wetlands for our nest boxes.

Thanks again to all the volunteers to help put the boxes up and then remove them.

Especially we want to thank all the volunteers that took weekly observations of the nest boxes. Luckily for us Bob Armstrong was doing some video work at Kingfisher Pond this summer and let us have this link to the nest box in use there


by Brenda Wright

The 16th Alaska Bird Conference was held in Juneau, December 9-11, 2014. There were over 40 scientific papers and 20 posters presented at the conference. The conference drew more than 100 students, scientists, educators, and researchers from across the state and the Pacific coast. Included in the conference sessions were climate change, breeding ecology, disease/contaminants, foraging ecology, movement ecology, and populations and distributions.

If you go to the web page, you can see the full program and also get the abstracts.  A special fund raising event by Juneau Audubon, Audubon Anchorage, and ADF&G enabled us to film the keynote speaker, Gerrit Vyn, for 360 North. If you would like to see this presentation you can enjoy it online at (You may have to wait for an update on the site, the presentation would not open for me).

A special thanks to the local organizing committee: Anne Sutton, Kelly Nesvacil, Mike Goldstein, and Brenda Wright. The scientific committee reviewed all the abstract submissions and made the schedule of talks, ring leaders were John Pearce, Julie Hagelin, Abby Powell, Debbi Nigro, and Steve Lewis. And also a special thank you to the sponsors for the donations of time, money, and effort: US Forest Service, ADF&G, Audubon Alaska, North Pacific Research Board, Pacific Coast Joint Venture, Ducks Unlimited, ABR, Inc., Juneau Audubon Society, and St. Hubert Research Group

Natural History of Juneau Trails: A Watershed Approach
By Richard Carstensen

Richard Carstensen’s gorgeous new book explores the natural history of the Juneau trail system.  It makes a great gift, and for only a limited time your purchase will directly support Discovery Southeast and Audubon. 

Natural History of Juneau Trails will be available in stores in 2014, but is available now for a limited time as a fundraiser directly from Discovery Southeast.  The price is $24.00.  

To order directly from Discovery Southeast on-line click here.  Use the code “Audubon” and profits from your purchase will be split between Audubon and Discovery Southeast.

A treat for any outdoor enthusiast.  Buy it now to support Audubon and Discovery Southeast!


Join the Juneau Audubon Society

Click here for a membership application form


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