Birds of the Mentasta Mountains

May 30 - June 2 with Dr. Carol McIntyre

The Mentasta Mountains offer unlimited opportunities for observing and learning about Alaska’s birds while enjoying spectacular scenery. During spring migration, tens of thousands of migratory birds pour into this area and join the resident bird species that are already nesting. Almost as soon as they return to their breeding grounds, migratory birds begin setting up their nesting territories and obtaining mates. This often includes conducting elaborate courtship displays or singing beautiful songs. This field seminar is a unique opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the many different species of birds that nest in interior Alaska, including their breeding behavior, migratory strategies and challenges to survival. It is also a great opportunity to enjoy spectacular scenery and incredible hiking.

This course will meet at Huck’s Hobbit Hostel in Slana the first night and then travel down and camp along the rugged Nabesna Road. We will spend our days exploring nearby areas and learning about the ecology of the species that live in these areas. The goal of the course is to introduce participants to the many species of birds that live in this area, their ecology, and their conservation issues.

Prerequisites for this field seminar include:

  • An inquisitive mind
  • A sense of adventure
  • Adequate clothing and footwear (please review clothing/equipment list carefully)
  • A good set of binoculars (a limited number of extras will be provided)
  • Ability to hike 4-8 miles of moderate to difficult terrain each day of the course
 Birding at a lake along the Nabesna Road

Birding at a lake along the Nabesna Road

 Carol McIntyre teaching in the field

Carol McIntyre teaching in the field


Carol McIntyre started her love affair with birds in October 1978 when she met a group of birders watching kettles of Broad-winged Hawks migrating south along the Kittatinny Ridge in northwestern New Jersey. That brief encounter marked the start of a lifetime of bird studies and adventures, and eventually led her to the upper Yukon River in 1985. Since then she has studied the ecology of Golden Eagles and other birds across interior Alaska. Carol is currently a wildlife biologist at Denali National Park and Preserve and also oversees the passerine bird monitoring program in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. She received her B.S. degree from East Stroudsburg University, her M.S. in Wildlife Management from University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and her Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. She has published her research results in scientific journals, co-authored Birds of Denali and co-authored Birds of North American Species Account for Golden When she isn't in the field, Carol lives in the boreal forest northwest of Fairbanks, Alaska, where she loves spending time with her husband Ray and their little team of big sled dogs

“We were privileged to learn from Carol McIntyre—a true expert, a gifted teacher, and the best field guide leader. The conversations around meal times were highly beneficial—our “mini lectures” and Q&A time much appreciated. Great mix of scientific content, spectacular scenery, wonderful companions, and real sunshine.”
— Kathleen Tarr


Participants should plan to arrive at Huck’s Hobbit around 5 pm, in time to get settled in their rooms and enjoy dinner with the group at 6 pm on Friday, May 30th. After some early morning birding and breakfast on Saturday, we will travel east along the Nabesna Road to set up our camp for the next two nights. Along the way we will stop at several areas to look for birds.  After setting up camp, we’ll explore the local area by foot travel. We’ll take a long day hike into the southern Mentasta Mountains on Sunday. We’ll be up for early morning birding on Monday and the course will end after breakfast Monday June 2nd. 

 Enjoying the morning sun at Huck's Hobbit

Enjoying the morning sun at Huck's Hobbit

Meals and Accomodations:

Huck’s Hobbit Hostel: Steve and Joy Hobbs operate a hostel on their original homestead in Slana, AK. There are rooms, rustic cabins, and camping spots, hot showers, great bird watching, and amazing home cooked meals.  

Camping: We will camp for two nights near Twin Lakes along the Nabesna Road. It is recommended that you bring your own tent and sleeping set up. A detailed list of what to bring will be sent to you upon registration.

All meals will be provided from dinner on May 30th to breakfast on Monday, June 3rd. Picnic lunches will be provided for Saturday and Sunday hikes. 

“The accommodations and Joy Hobb’s personal knowledge of the local history and wildlife added to my experience. I was surprised by the number of species we found.”
— Anonymous

 Cost: $285/person if you register by April 17, 2014; $315/person after April 17th. Current WMC Members receive a 10% discount (not applicable to the early bird discount). The workshop price includes all meals (dinner on May 30 through breakfast on June 2) and Friday night lodging at Huck’s Hobbit. 


Register: To register for this workshop, please fill out the attached form with a $75 deposit. If you prefer you may also mail in your registration and a check (download .PDF). Balance is due 30 days prior to workshop start date. Write to Kristin Link at or call 907-242-0515 with any questions.

“This was an entirely new area of Alaska for me. I think the experience of spending time at the Huck Hobbit’s Homestead while birding with Carol is possibly one of the highlights of my “Alaskan life.””
— Anonymous