Important Bird Areas

Creamer's Field

Alaska

The core of this site is a former dairy farm, but it also includes surrounding wetland areas and woodlands. Much of the refuge area is specifically and intensively managed for attracting wildlife, particularly migratory waterfowl. The site has a long history of avian research, and is currently the focus of a long-term songbird banding program, which was started in 1992. The refuge provides a highly-visible wildlife viewing area and educational resource for the community of Fairbanks and its surrounds. The site has exceptional public access and broad public use and support.

Ornithological Summary

Creamer?s Field is the site of a long-term songbird banding station (operated by the Alaska Bird Observatory since 1992), and has been the focus of research studies on cranes, geese, swallows, Solitary Sandpiper, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and other species. This site represents an important spring and fall staging area for cranes and waterfowl, particularly for the Sandhill Crane (rowani) and Lesser Canada Goose (parvipes), and is regularly used by shorebirds and passerines during migration. More than 70 avian species breed on the refuge. The site also has a high public profile within the city of Fairbanks and is the most visited bird viewing area in Interior Alaska.

Conservation Issues

Currently, there are no major threats to this site. There is some potential for future problems, however, with the spread of waterfowl diseases, disturbance to birds, encroaching development along borders, and a transportation corridor.

Ownership

This site is owned entirely by the State of Alaska, and managed by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) as the Creamer?s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.

Habitat

Creamer's Field is a mosaic of open farm fields, with surrounding natural wetlands and forest. Originally a dairy farm, much of the site is specifically and intensively managed to attract migratory birds, particularly waterfowl. Pastures are cut short, to provide nutritious new growth, late-sprouting barley is grown, and feed grain is spread on fields in the Spring and Fall.

Land Use

At this site, sustainable agricultural and silvicultural management practices are employed to enhance wildlife value. The area is used largely for nature conservation and research, recreation, and environmental education. Sections of the refuge are open to hunting and trapping during the appropriate seasons.