Cooperative Research Units
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Ecology of Smith's Longspurs in Northern Alaska


August 2007 - December 2015


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 Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • 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
  • 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  | 
  • 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


  • 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.


  • Craig, H., A. Powell, S. Kendall, and T. Wild. 2012. Annual survival of Smith’s Longspurs in Alaska. Poster, 5th North American Ornithological Conference, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Craig, H., A. N. Powell, S. Kendall, and T. Wild. 2012. Effects of sex and age on survival of Smith's Longspurs in northern Alaska. 25 October. 15th Annual Alaska Bird Conference, Anchorage, AK.
  • Craig, H., S. Kendall, and A. Powell. 2014. Reproductive success of Smith's Longspurs in Alaska's Brooks Range. 16th Alaska Bird Conference, Juneau, AK.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 143

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1949

Presentations: 4250



  • Abby PowellPrincipal Investigator
  • Teri WildStudent
  • Heather CraigStudent

Funding Agencies

  • National Park Service


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey