Divoky had conducted observational research on Cooper Island every summer for almost four decades. He focused on Black Guillemots, but also observed other seabirds and polar bears.
Cooper Island is the largest Black Guillemot colony in Alaska, and the most northerly breeding site for Horned Puffins. The Arctic Tern colony on the island was, until recently, the largest on the northern coast of Alaska.
From midsummer to fall, the islands beaches and adjacent waters host many oceanic and nearshore migrants. Cooper Island is also the site of a long-term biological research station. Information on the breeding behaviour and productivity of the Black Guillemot population has been recorded at this site for 30 years.
Extended data sets of this nature are rare in Alaska, especially in the Arctic, and this work has proven to be invaluable in monitoring long-term cycles and trends in Arctic avifauna related to climate change and other atmospheric variation. Cooper Island is a barrier island of sand and gravel roughly 4 miles long. It is located just off the coast of Alaska's North Slope, 25 miles east of Point Barrow.