Every year, thousands of avian species migrate to the Coastal Plain of ANWR. There they find a prime, pristine arctic breeding ground that exists as an abundant source of nutrition and nesting territory. Many of the birds that travel up to thousands of kilometers to this land are threatened or endangered species. Five species that fall into this category are the tundra swan, buff-breasted sandpiper, pigeon guillemot, sea duck, and snow goose.
Collectively, the critical time periods for courtship, breeding, and fledgling maturation or molting in the case of the sea duck occur between the months of April and November. Therefore, it is repeatedly suggested that human disturbances be limited throughout those months. The main disturbances to be concerned about are those caused by oil-drilling development such as exploration, extraction, and transportation tactics.
It has been reported by several sources that many species, especially the tundra swan and snow geese populations, are significantly affected by noise pollution. In fact, tundra swans are so sensitive that they will abandon nests, and snow geese will often not return to areas where noise repeatedly disrupts the environment. Other species such as the sea duck are more vulnerable to seismic activity that is employed for the purpose of exploration. In addition, although oil spills are becoming less common and smaller in volume as technology improves, they continue to pose a major threat to the birds that inhabit the 1002 area every summer.