Along the southeast border of the Reserve, the Colville River Delta is the largest and most productive river delta in northern Alaska. An Aquatic Resource of National Importance, the Colville River Special Area encompasses 2.44 million acres and incorporates two miles on either side of the Colville and two of its major tributaries – the Kikiakrorak and Kogosukruk Rivers.
The cliffs along the Colville River provide critical nesting sites and adjacent hunting areas for peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, golden eagles and rough-legged hawks. The name “peregrine” means wanderer, and the peregrine falcon has one of the longest migrations of any North American bird. In fact, falcons that breed in the Colville River area may fly to South America for the winter, travelling 15,500 miles in a single year.
Rough-legged hawks (named for their feathered legs) in the region migrate to many of the United States. Their nests have been known to contain caribou bones as well as sticks.
Wolf densities along the Colville River corridor are also higher than anywhere along Alaska’s northern coastal plain. The Colville River flows for 391 miles through the Colville River Special Area, the entirety of which lies north of Alaska’s Brooks Range.