The "Dawn Chorus"

It was a quiet but oddly busy summer for us here in Alaska. The noise of the world – COVID, and politics, and civil unrest – has rattled around in our brains since early spring. It’s been a challenging but vital effort to tune it all out, so we don’t forget why we choose to live close to the natural world.

At Winterlake Lodge, a walk along the Iditarod Trail, a trek to a high-mountain glacier, or fly-fishing a quiet remote river provide contemplative time. At Tutka Bay Lodge, a sea kayaking trip around the Herring Islands or watching whales breach and turn, and a day of bear-viewing along the Katmai coast, all offer respite from the big wide world.

Bear or whale sightings may get top billing, but plenty of other creatures enrich our lives. For example, there are over 470 species of birds in Alaska, and sometimes I think all of them are living in the tree just outside my bedroom window. The lovely “dawn chorus” of sounds that wake me in the early morning starts with just a solitary first peep of a note and then another, and soon a riot of trills and calls adds background melodies to our lives through the day.

It’s already early October and Alaska’s fall migration is well underway. Large flocks of Trumpeter and Canadian geese fly overhead, honking loudly as they glide along in V-formations and remind us winter is coming. When I hear them, I always stop whatever I am doing and look up to them with just a bit of sadness in saying farewell. It’s a ritual I will repeat with anticipation and excitement in the spring.

If you want to take a deep dive into Alaska birds, here’s a complete list. Phew. And, if you are interested in virtually attending a cool event highlighting birdlife in Alaska’s remote Arctic, a place once again often in the news, there is an Arctic Refuge Bird Festival in November. But, of course, the best thing to do is to come and visit us at Within the Wild Adventure Lodges next summer and listen to that dawn chorus for yourself.