Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Alaska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Alaska Project

Ecology of Smith's Longspurs in Northern Alaska

August 2007 - December 2015


Participating Agencies

  • National Park Service

The overall goal of this project is to contribute to conservation strategies for Smith’s Longspurs by further refining our knowledge of their breeding ecology in Alaska, using the unique availability of individually marked birds and baseline data at the Arctic Refuge. Our objectives are to (1) document natal and breeding site fidelity using resightings of individually banded birds, (2) estimate nest survival and analyze covariates that influence nest survival (e.g. habitat and temporal factors), and (3) continue to collect and analyze life history information to better understand breeding parameters such as breeding phenology, adult survival and movements, nesting chronology, habitat preferences, and nest site requirements.

Research Publications Publication Date
Will, A., H. McFarland, C. Latty, and A. Powell. 2024. Geolocators, stable isotopes, and citizen science identify migratory timing, route, and spring molt of Smith’s Longspurs. Avian Conservation and Ecology 19(1):13. [online] URL: | Abstract April 2024
Wild, T. C., S. J. Kendall, N. Guldager, and A. N. Powell. 2015. Breeding habitat associations and predicted distribution of a tundra obligate, Smith's Longspur, in the face of changing climate. Condor 117: 3-17. DOI: 10.1650/CONDOR-14-77.1 December 2014
McFarland, H. R., S. Kendall, and A. N. Powell. Nest-site selection and nest success of an arctic-breeding passerine, Smith's Longspurs, in a changing climate. The Condor: Ecological Applications 119:85-97. DOI: 10.1650/CONDOR-16-87.1 February 2017
Craig, H.R., S. Kendall, T. Wild, and A. N. Powell. 2015. Dispersal and survival of a polygynandrous passerine. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 132:916-925, DOI: 10.1642/AUK-15-41.1 | Download October 2015
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Wild, T. C. 2013. Habitat associations, distribution, and abundance of Smith's Longspur (Calcarius pictus), and uncommon species of concern in the Brooks Range, Alaska. M.S. Thesis, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. December 2013
Craig, H. R. 2015. Breeding ecology of Smith's Longspurs (Calcarius pictus) in the Brooks Range, Alaska. M.S. Thesis, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska. 77 pp. August 2015