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Dearest Alaska: “B.T.C.U.’s” Pick Nome Every Year

A group of birders in pursuit of the bristle-thighed curlew.
WINGS Birding Tours guide birders to Mile 72 on the Kougarok Road to see the rare bristle-thighed curlew on their summer nesting grounds. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

Bird-watching enthusiasts, or “birders,” flock to Western Alaska every year to get a glimpse of the bristle-thighed curlew, a migratory bird that nests in a remote area on Mile 72 on the Kougarok Road.

This month’s episode of Dearest Alaska follows them on their quest. Listen in the media player above to follow the WINGS Birding Tour guides Jon Dunn and Gavin Bieber on an intense and fun day of birding!

If you’re curious to learn more about Professor Steven Feldstein’s paper on the bristle-thighed curlew mentioned in this episode, you can find a PDF version here.

Dearest Alaska is an experimental audio project; the program will be available on this website and broadcast live on the first Saturday and Sunday of every month at 12noon and 5pm on KNOM (96.1 FM, 780 AM).

If you or someone you know would like to participate in an episode of Dearest Alaska, please contact KNOM at 907-443-5221 or dearest.alaska@knom.org.

Dearest Alaska: Bring your radio to life with the sounds of Western A-K.

"Bristle-thighed curlews pick Nome every year."
An anonymous note leaves a poignant message: the bristle-thighed curlews (“BTCU”) pick Mile 72 on the Kougarok Road – across from Coffee Dome – every year for their mating grounds. As a result, this remote and highly specific location choice spurs many adventurous birders to ‘flock’ to Nome, too. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM

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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.