Mat-Su Birders

A club in Alaska's beautiful Matanuska-Susitna Valley devoted to watching wild birds


 Alaska Bird Festivals
Learning About Birds
Binoculor/Scope Information
  • Optics for Birding: An excellent source for learning about birding binocular/scope technology and for unbiased comparative reviews of  equipment.
Science and Citizen Science
  • Alaska Science Center’s website on Beak Deformities in South Central Alaska: The latest updates on the USGS Alaska Science Center’s research project looking for the cause of beak deformities in Black-capped Chickadees and many other Alaska bird species. The site has numerous photographs of bird species with beak deformities and provides a reporting process for birders to report beak deformities they observe in birds at their feeders or in the wild.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count: A midwinter, four-day, citizen science project that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.
  • Project FeederWatch: A citizen science project for the whole family. Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the highest numbers of each species they see at their feeders from early November through early April. FeederWatch helps scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
  • eBird: Record birds you see, contribute data, dynamic maps and more.


Available in most Anchorage Bookstores
Field Guides
  • Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America by Kenn Kaufman: The first field guide to use photographs in which plumage colors have been digitally corrected. Birds that are common and widely distributed (and more likely to be encountered) are depicted first. Similar
    species follow. A good guide for new birders.
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 7th Edition, 2017:  Edited by Jon L. Dunn & Jonathan Alderfer. The only field guide that shows all of the species seen in Alaska through 2016. Eastern and Western editions of the Field Guide are also available.
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America Pub. 2008: Covers species found from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains and adjacent portions of the Great Plains, just to the east.
  • The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition 2014 by David Allen Sibley, pub. by Knopf 2014.:   Covers the entire U.S.
  • Sibley Birds West by David Allen Sibley, pub. by Knopf, 2016, 2nd Edition: The most correct range maps for Alaska’s species.
  • Guide to the Birds of Alaska by Robert H. Armstrong, pub. by Alaska Northwest Books, 6th Edition, 2015:  Good information on the general distribution of Alaska’s bird species.
Better Birding Books
  • Pete Dunne on Bird Watching by Pete Dunne, pub. by Houghton Mifflen Co., 2015, 2nd Edition:  A good source for general birding information.
  • Birding Essentials by Jonathan Alderfer & Jon L. Dunn, pub. by National Geographic 2007:  All the tools, techniques, and tips you need to begin and become a better birder.
  • Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion – A Comprehensive Resource for Identifying North American Birds by Pete Dunne, pub. by Houghton Mifflen Co., 2006:  Covers just about all of the information about birds species that’s missing from the field guides. Introduces readers to the “Cape May School of Birding,” an approach to identification that gives equal or more weight to a bird’s structure and shape and the observer’s overall impression than to specific field marks. This approach is often called GISS, a WW II term for identifying aircraft that means, “General Impression of Size and Shape.”
  • Sibley’s Birding Basics by David Allen Sibley, pub. by Knopf, 2002: One of the best books for learning about birds. Identify Yourself – The 50 Most Common Bird Identification Challenges by Bill Thompson III & the editors of Bird Watcher’s Digest, pub. by Houghton Mifflen Co., 2005. :  Gives beginning and intermediate bird watchers a helping hand with some of the most confounding identification challenges — birds that are commonly encountered but difficult to tell apart.
  • The Birdwatcher’s Companion to North American Birdlife by Christopher W. Leahy, pub. by Princeton Univ. Press, 2004 in collaboration with the American Birding Association. :  Both a practical handbook for amateurs and a handy reference for seasoned birders, provides accounts of the basic elements of birdlife, as well as a wealth of easy-to-access information on such subjects as bird physiology and anatomy, terms and  jargon, name definitions and etymology, and ornithological groupings.
  • Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman, pub. by Houghton Mifflen Co., 1996: A book that goes beyond the field guides — not a guide for naming the birds, but a reference for understanding them — a complete, handy, one-volume encyclopedia on the fascinating lives of our birds. The essential companion to your field guide.
  • The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior Illustrated by David Allen Sibley, Edited by Chris Elphick, John B. Dunning, Jr., & David Allen Sibley. Pub. by Chanticleer Press, 2001 Conceived as a companion guide to The Sibley Guide to Birds. Outlines the principles of avian evolution, life cycle, body structure, flight dynamics, and more. 80 family-by-family chapters describe the range of behavior dictated by birds’ biology and environment.
Birding Alaska
  • A Birder’s Guide to Alaska by George C. West, pub. by the American Birding Association, 2008, 2nd Ed. Complete information on just about all of the birding destinations in Alaska. Available at Amazon or at Buteo Books .
  • Wings over Alaska: “Wings Over Alaska” is an Alaska Department of Fish and Game program that
    encourages more people to enjoy Alaska’s birds and to take their birding skills to a higher level.
Rehabilitation Centers
Birding Checklists
Birding Organizations