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Highs and Lows of Birding on Kachemak Bay

Spring has Arrived in Homer Alaska

31st Annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival Homer Alaska
Shorebirds Nesting on Gull Island, Kachemak Bay, Homer Alaska

The call of the Sandhill Cranes as they descended into their nesting areas in Homer, Alaska heralded the arrival of their smaller, but very welcome cousins.

The Shorebirds are arriving and the 31st Annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival will celebrate their visit.

Homer, Alaska, is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, especially those interested in observing shorebirds and the effects of tides on the birds.

Tricky Tides

Tides move quickly and it is important to know where you are in time and location as the water moves in and out. To preserve bird habitats please protect the shoreline and nesting areas at all times by observing from a safe distance.

A Feast After Rising

Homer, Alaska has two high and two low tides each day, with a maximum tidal range of over 25 feet.

High tide is the perfect time to view the birds resting and waiting close to shore. As the high tide moves out, the sand loosens, providing the birds with fresh feasting opportunities twice a day. The birds can easily probe for prey using their sensitive beaks and roost on the loose sand.

Shorebirds in Homer typically have long legs and toes, allowing them to wade without getting wet. They also have longer beaks, enabling them to search deeper into the sand and mud for food.

Low Tide Luxury

As the tide recedes from shore, shorebirds use their long beaks to probe the sand and mud to search for buried prey. Carefully probing the sand or mud, they search for tasty morsels such as worms, crustaceans, and mollusks that are buried beneath the surface.

Some species of shorebirds, such as sandpipers and plovers, will also run along the shoreline to catch small crustaceans and other prey that are exposed by the receding tide. At low tide, shorebirds may also rest, preen their feathers, or engage in social behaviors such as courtship displays and territorial disputes.

When the tide begins to rise again, the birds will move back to higher ground to avoid being trapped by the incoming water.

The tides in Homer, Alaska, play an essential role in shaping the marine environment and provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the natural beauty of the area, including the diverse and fascinating shorebirds that call it home.

Easy Prey

Homer's year-round resident, the Majestic Eagle, will be hanging around carefully keeping an eye out for a snack opportunity. Look up from the shore and you'll see them waiting patiently to swoop down and scoop up a tasty morsel. Otters will frolic in the marina and tidepool treasures will appear. Keep your eyes peeled and camera ready - there is always a nature viewing opportunity on Kachemak Bay!


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