It’s finally spring! As the snow melts, temperatures rise, and our days get longer, our natural areas come alive again. All our parks and trails are open year-round, but spring brings special opportunities to enjoy watching wildlife, migrating birds, and emerging spring wildflowers while getting some fresh air and exercise. Our urban parkland and greenbelts in Anchorage provide valuable habitat for migrating and resident birds—making our parks some of the best places to go birding.
How to Get Started Birding
Bird watching can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, experience, or physical abilities. To get started, download the free Merlin Bird ID app, grab a pair of binoculars if you have them, and check out the Anchorage Bird Map to find a spot near you or visit one of the parks listed below. Learn more about Alaska’s amazing birds and tools to get outside and explore from local bird experts at the Campbell Creek Science Center and Anchorage Audubon Society.
Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park (1824 West 15th Ave) includes Westchester Lagoon and is a wild oasis near downtown where the Chester Creek greenbelt meets the scenic Coastal Trail. The paved multi-use trails and viewing platforms make Westchester an accessible place to see a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, and roosting birds in this intertidal area. Birds to look for in the vicinity include Gadwall, Mallard, Red-necked Grebe, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and Hudsonian Godwit to name a few.
Far North Bicentennial Park
This municipal park surrounds the BLM Campbell Tract and is often just referred to as the Campbell Tract. This is a large area of mixed spruce-birch forest bisected by Campbell Creek and extensive soft surface trails that are great for hiking and biking. Birds to look for include, Boreal Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-crowned Sparrow, Great Horned Owl, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Varied Thrush. This area can be accessed from Tudor Road (4970 Campbell Airstrip Rd) or from Elmore (5600 Science Center Dr.). Take a self-guided bird walk on the BLM Campbell Tract in May. Signs for the walk begin near Campbell Airstrip Trailhead bridge.
Cheney Lake Park
A beautiful lake surrounded by forest on the east side, the Chugach Range further on, and a nice path that encircles the lake. Cheney Lake Park (2245 Baxter Rd) is a low key location to look for Anchorage birds with good chances for Red-necked Grebes, Black-capped Chickadees, Hairy Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadees, and a fair chance for a Common or Pacific Loon in the spring. Learn more about this great birding spot from the Anchorage Audubon Society.
This West Anchorage neighborhood park (3136 Discovery Bay Dr.) offers an excellent vantage point of the Anchorage Wildlife Coastal Refuge (binoculars or a spotting scope are helpful). A short walk along a soft surface trail opens up to expansive views of Turnagain Arm. Look for Greater White-fronted and Snow Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, and various shorebirds. Learn more about this great birding spot from the Anchorage Audubon Society.