Alaska Bird Conference, Cordova / by Michael Johns

Every few years, researchers studying birds in Alaska gather for a small conference to share ideas and report on their findings. This year, the Alaska Bird Conference was held in Cordova, a sleepy fishing town tucked away in a remote arm of Prince William Sound. Noteworthy talks included a report on the recent mass die-off of common murres and subsequent near total breeding failure throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, and new evidence supporting a virus as the likely source of a deadly outbreak of beak deformities effecting black-capped chickadees and hundreds of other bird species across Alaska. My main reason for attending, aside from these talks and presenting the work I'm doing with Point Blue on Cassin's auklets, was to get away from the interior for a week and see the ocean again.