Breeding Grounds Survey: The Northwest Territories' Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

June 11, 2014 - Alaska, Yukon Territory & Old Crow Flats
By Steve Olson, USFWS biologist, Alaska, Yukon Territory & Old Crow Flats

Colorful are the northern characters Fred and I meet for food, jet fuel, and lodging. As you can imagine, hotels don't grow on black spruce, they grow above oil. We stay (sleep) at many B&B's, fishing and hunting lodges, cabins, etc., throughout the north.

Also colorful are the variations of habitat at 150 feet. Color livens, inspires, and directs life, and I could give the reader another blog about our day-to-day experiences, but I don’t think a narrative of where we flew does any justice to the sights. I've been trying to capture and catalog these colors as I count waterfowl, because some just leave you breathless and wondering how long those habitats have remained effectively untouched. The boreal forests, bogs, muskeg, tundra, Canadian Shield lands, and Arctic Ocean coastal wetlands were all full of color, so I hope you feel inspired with some of my point-and-shoot shots.

Get more information about the 2014 BPOP Survey and other waterfowl surveys at

Find more breeding waterfowl and habitat updates on the DU Habitat Map