Birds

Several gulls and other sea birds wading in the shallow, rocky Indian River.

There is a great diversity of bird species that live in or pass through the park! A variety of habitats support both migratory and resident populations of birds.

The park hosts a Christmas Bird Count, generally between December 14 and January 5. You can join the fun and see what birds you can identify.

 
Closeup image of a sitting Harlequin Duck.
Harlequin Duck

flickr Pesthule

Seabirds

Alpine, rainforest, riverine, and coastal ecosystems in the Sitka region all contribute to the abundance of birds found in the park. Intertidal and shoreline areas support a variety of migratory waterfowl and shore birds during spring and fall. Seabirds such as common murres, scoters, harlequin ducks, scaup, buffleheads, and long-tailed ducks commonly use the park waters, particularly in winter. Puffins nest in Sitka Sound's nearby islands and are characterstic of this region.
 
Photo of a Puffin floating in the ocean.
Puffin

flickr Alan Vernon

In Transit

Many passerine, or song birds, use the park for breeding, wintering, or a migratory stopover on their long journey. Passerines make up more than half of all bird species. Some species found in the park include pine siskins, savanna sparrows, robins, Townsend's warblers, ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets, kingfishers, dippers, and winter wrens. There are several kinds of thrushes found at the Sitka NHP, including varied, hermit, and Swainson’s thrushes. Peregrine falcons live and breed in Southeast Alaska and were once listed on the threatened and endangered list by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. These transient birds are still a species of concern due to their rarity.
 
Photo of three bald eagles sitting on a tree branch.
Three eagles

flickr rwoan

Locals

Sitka National Historical Park hosts several species of resident birds. Resident birds include common mergansers, mallards, sandpipers, and great blue herons. Gulls, crows, and ravens also thrive in the park and utilize the abundance of resources from the river estuary and tidal flats. Perhaps the most charismatic and majestic birds in the park are the bald eagles. They are common along the tree line and can often be spotted soaring above the water or searching on the tide flats for food. Eagles are especially noticable during the spring herring spawn and fall salmon runs, when they feed on fish carcasses in the river and contribute to a cycle of replenishing the forest’s nutrients with fish remains. Nesting inside the park is not unusual, and the visitors can enjoy the eagles’ presence while walking amongst totem poles on the trail.
 

Bird Checklist

Select "birds" in the selection box below to print your own bird checklist.
 

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Last updated: February 7, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

103 Monastery St.
Sitka, AK 99835

Phone:

(907) 747-0110

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