Birds in Alaska

  1. Cormorants– The pelagic cormorant, meaning “lives most of its life at sea”, red-faced and double-crested cormorants are the three species that nest in the area. Cormorants have no protective oils, so their feathers soak up with water. This gives them neutral buoyancy as they dive and paddle after fish. While on shore, they often spread their wings to dry.
  2. Bald Eagles– They are the largest of the North American raptors, weighing up to 13 pounds and have wingspans of about seven feet. Thousands of pairs nest along our coastline where they fish and hunt. The white head of the adult develops after four or five years.
  3. Black Oystercatchers– They usually nest among pebbles in shallow, rocky depressions on the beach. Their bright red bills are strong and flat, perfect for opening shellfish, such as mussels, oysters, and limpets. After breeding, they may flock together. Up to 50 birds can gather on flat rocks at the shoreline.
  4. Black-Legged Kittiwakes– A commonly seen member of the gull family with ink-black wing tips. There are usually hundreds flying overhead, squawking and landing on their tightly-packed nests. They build their summer homes out of seaweed and mud on sheer rock cliffs.
  5. Murres– The deepest-diving of Alaska’s seabirds, up to 300 feet. Commonly seen in large rafts on the surface or standing along rocky ledges. Black and white colors and an upright stance give them the nickname “penguins of the North.” Member of the alcid family.
  6. Puffins– Dressed in their bright summer mating plumage and parrot-like beaks, tufted and horned puffins come ashore only to nest and raise their single chick. Flapping their wings, they “fly” through the water in pursuit of small fish that make up their diet. Their relatively huge beaks allow parents to bring three or four fish at a time to their young. Members of the alcid family.
  7. Parakeet Auklet– These small alcids, including the rhinoceros auklet, have piercing gray eyes and are excellent swimmers and divers. They nest under loose piles of boulders on the beach. They do not add any nesting materials so they often lay their eggs on bare rock.

Other birds of Alaska

Loons-Arctic and Common
Shearwaters– Northern Fular, Sooty Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater
Storm-Petrels-Leach’s and Fork-Tailed
Ducks– Mallard, Harlequin, Black, White-Winged and Surf Scoter, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Common Merganser
Falcons– Peregrine
Sandpipers– Spotted, Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, and Red-Necked Phalarope
Skuas– Pomarine, Parasitis, and Long-Tailed Jaeger
Gulls and Turns– Mew and Glaucous-Winged Gulls, Arctic Tern
Alcids– Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled, Kittlitz’s and Ancient Murrelet
Kingfishers– Belted
Jays– Northwestern Crow and Common Raven
Finches– Fox Sparrow

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*