Have you ever found yourself wondering what kind of birds are visiting your backyard in Alaska? Identifying these feathered friends by sight and sound can be a rewarding experience for bird enthusiasts. This guide will provide you with useful information to help you identify common backyard birds in Alaska, and even offer a free ID chart for the most frequently spotted species.
Backyard Birds in Alaska All Year Round
Throughout the year, there are several common backyard birds you can expect to see in Alaska. These include the Black-capped Chickadee, Black-billed Magpie, Dark-eyed Junco, Steller’s Jay, Boreal Chickadee, American Crow, Song Sparrow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pine Siskin, Rock Pigeon, Pine Grosbeak, and Hairy Woodpecker. These birds can be easily identified by their unique physical features and distinct songs.
Summer Backyard Birds in Alaska
During the summer months, you can spot a variety of birds in your backyard in Alaska. Some of the most common species include the American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Yellow Warbler. These birds are known for their vibrant plumage and melodious songs.
Winter Backyard Birds in Alaska
Even during the colder months, Alaska’s backyard birds are a sight to behold. The most commonly spotted birds during winter include the Red-breasted Nuthatch and the Downy Woodpecker. These birds have adapted to the harsh Alaskan climate and can be identified by their unique physical characteristics.
Attracting Common Backyard Birds in Alaska
Attracting birds to your backyard can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family. Providing food and shelter is key to attracting a variety of species. Consider putting up bird feeders with different types of food, such as suet, nectar, and seeds. Providing nesting boxes and birdhouses can also attract different species and give them a safe place to raise their young.
If you are interested in backyard birding, you may also enjoy spotting some of Alaska’s beautiful ducks. With its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, Alaska is a bird watcher’s paradise. So grab your binoculars and get ready to explore the great outdoors!
Top 20 Backyard Birds In Alaska
1. Black-capped Chickadee: Alaska’s Friendly Backyard Bird
The Black-capped Chickadee is a beloved bird species that can be found in Alaska throughout the year. In fact, their numbers increase from October to April. These birds are a common sight for bird watchers in the state, occurring in 11% of summer checklists and 33% of winter checklists.
Appearance and Characteristics
The Black-capped Chickadee is a small bird with a big round head and tiny body, making it an adorable sight to see. They have black caps and beaks, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail. The scientific name of this bird species is Poecile atricapillus. They are between 4.7-5.9 inches in length, weigh between 0.3-0.5 oz, and have a wingspan of 6.3-8.3 inches.
Habitat and Diet
Black-capped Chickadees can be found in forests, open woods, and parks. These friendly birds will happily feed at backyard feeders and investigate everything, including you! They eat a variety of foods, including seeds, berries, insects, spiders, and suet.
Attracting Black-capped Chickadees
If you want to attract Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard, you can use suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter in your feeders. They will even feed from your hand and are often one of the first birds to discover new feeders. You can also provide nest boxes for them, especially if you fill them with wood shavings.
Other Chickadees in Alaska
Apart from the Black-capped Chickadee, there are other sociable and inquisitive chickadee species that can be found in Alaska. By learning about these birds and their unique characteristics, you can deepen your appreciation and understanding of the diverse bird species that inhabit the state.
2. Black-billed Magpie: The Noisy Black and White Bird of North America
The Black-billed Magpie, scientifically known as Pica hudsonia, is a common bird species found in the northwestern United States, western Canada, and along the coast of Alaska. In this article, we will discuss the characteristics, behavior, and habitat of the Black-billed Magpie.
Appearance and Characteristics
Black-billed Magpies are black and white birds with long tails and blue-green iridescent flashes on their wings and tails. They are known for their noisy calls and are commonly called Magpies. Males are larger and heavier than females, with the latter weighing between 5.1 to 7.4 oz (145-210 g) and measuring between 17.7 to 23.6 in (45-60 cm) in length. Their wingspan ranges from 22.1 to 24.0 in (56-61 cm).
Habitat and Behavior
Black-billed Magpies are non-migratory birds and can be found in open areas such as meadows, grasslands, and agricultural fields. They are also known to inhabit urban and suburban areas. These birds are adaptable and have been observed living in various altitudes, from sea level to high mountainous regions.
The Black-billed Magpie feeds on a diverse diet, including fruits, grains, beetles, and grasshoppers. They are also known to hunt small mammals such as squirrels and voles and raid bird nests for eggs or nestlings. Additionally, they are scavengers and will feed on carrion.
Attracting Black-billed Magpies to Your Backyard
If you are interested in attracting Black-billed Magpies to your backyard, you can provide them with a platform or suet feeder. These birds are known to feed on black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, fruit, suet, millet, and milo. However, it is important to note that these birds can become aggressive towards other bird species at feeders, so it is recommended to provide multiple feeding stations and maintain a safe distance from other birds.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the Black-billed Magpie is a common bird species found in the northwestern United States, western Canada, and Alaska. These birds are known for their noisy calls and adaptability to various habitats. They have diverse diets and can be attracted to backyard feeders with a variety of foods.
3. Dark-Eyed Junco: A Comprehensive Guide to Identification and Behavior
Dark-Eyed Juncos are one of the most widely distributed and recognizable sparrows in North America. This article will provide you with all the information you need to identify and understand these fascinating birds.
Identification: The appearance of Dark-Eyed Juncos varies depending on their location. In the eastern part of their range, they are typically slate-colored, while in the western region, they are black, white, and brown. However, all subspecies of the Dark-Eyed Junco share a few common characteristics, including a pink bill, a white belly, and a dark, conical shape. Additionally, males and females have similar plumage, with minor variations in coloring.
Junco hyemalis, as they are scientifically known, have a wingspan of 7.1-9.8 inches, weigh 0.6-1.1 ounces, and measure 5.5-6.3 inches in length. They have a chunky, plump appearance with a short tail.
Distribution and Migration
Dark-Eyed Juncos can be found throughout North America, from the western parts of Canada and Alaska to the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. The population of Juncos found in Canada and Alaska migrates south to the United States during the winter months.
Habitat and Behavior
Dark-Eyed Juncos prefer open and partially wooded areas, often found on the ground, and are common across the continent. They are usually solitary birds but may form flocks during migration. Their unique behaviors include scratching the ground with both feet, which exposes seeds and insects for them to eat.
Dark-Eyed Juncos are primarily seed-eaters and are attracted to backyard feeders with a variety of seeds, including black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Platform feeders or scattering seeds on the ground are the best methods to attract them.
Conclusion: Dark-Eyed Juncos are fascinating birds with a distinctive appearance and unique behaviors. By using this comprehensive guide to identification and behavior, you can easily identify and attract them to your backyard for a closer look.
4. Discover the Fascinating Red-breasted Nuthatch: A Common Bird in Alaska
Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) are captivating little birds that are a common sight in Alaska. These birds are mostly spotted from December to February, and they appear in up to 21% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state. Let’s delve into more information about these blue-gray birds with black and white stripes on their heads and rusty undersides.
Physical Characteristics of Red-breasted Nuthatches
Red-breasted Nuthatches have blue-gray feathers with black and white stripes on their heads, rusty-colored underparts, and a short tail. They have a unique appearance with their distinctive black eye-line and white eyebrow. The birds are relatively small, measuring 4.3 inches (11 cm) in length and weighing 0.3-0.5 oz (8-13 g). Their wingspan is 7.1-7.9 inches (18-20 cm).
Habitat and Distribution
Red-breasted Nuthatches can be seen in Alaska all year round, and they are also found in coniferous forests throughout Canada and the western and northeastern United States. They are known to move south in winter if cone crops are poor. These birds prefer to inhabit mature coniferous forests that have an abundant supply of seeds and insects.
Behavior and Feeding Habits
Red-breasted Nuthatches have a unique foraging behavior as they are known to creep down trees headfirst, searching for insects and seeds. They use their strong beaks to extract seeds from cones, and they have also been observed caching seeds in the bark of trees. During winter, they may visit backyard feeders, especially if their natural food sources are scarce. To attract Red-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard, provide a variety of seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, and mealworms. Suet feeders are also an excellent food source for these birds.
Conclusion: Red-breasted Nuthatches are a common sight in Alaska, and their unique appearance and foraging behavior make them an interesting bird to observe. With proper bird feeding and habitat conservation, these birds will continue to thrive and be a joy to bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.
5. American Robin: A Common Sight in North America
American Robins, known for their red or orange breasts, are a familiar sight across North America. These birds breed in Alaska and are spotted in 34% of summer checklists, with sightings mainly from April to September. Some of them, however, stay in the state all year and appear in 4% of winter checklists.
Physical Characteristics and Habitat
Turdus migratorius, the scientific name for American Robins, measures 7.9-11.0 inches (20-28 cm) in length and weighs 2.7-3.0 ounces (77-85 g), with a wingspan of 12.2-15.8 inches (31-40 cm). They have black heads and backs with red or orange breasts. During the winter, they roost in trees and are more commonly seen in backyards during spring.
American Robins can be found in a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, forests, mountains, fields, parks, and lawns. They feed on earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.
How to Attract American Robins to Your Backyard
You can attract American Robins to your backyard by offering them sunflower seeds, suet, peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. Platform feeders are best or scatter the food on the ground. Additionally, consider planting native plants that produce berries, such as juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood.
6. Steller’s Jay: A Striking Bird with Mimicking Abilities
Steller’s Jays, known for their striking blue and black feathers, are a common sight in the southeastern part of Alaska all year round. They appear in 5% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.
Physical Characteristics and Habitat
Cyanocitta stelleri, the scientific name for Steller’s Jays, measures 11.8-13.4 inches (30-34 cm) in length, weighs 3.5-4.9 ounces (100-140 g), and has a wingspan of 17.3 inches (44 cm). They have black triangular crests that stick up from their heads, with the rest of their heads and onto their chests and back being black, and the rest of their bodies being blue.
Steller’s Jays can be found in evergreen forests in the mountains and around picnic tables, campgrounds, and backyard feeders. They feed on insects, seeds, nuts, berries, eggs, and nestlings, and are also known to make a nuisance of themselves around garbage and unguarded picnics.
Steller’s Jays are known for their distinct vocalizations, including ‘kaw’ sounds, fast two-toned calls, peeps, and harsh guttural sounds. They can even mimic other bird species, sprinklers, and alarms.
How to Attract Steller’s Jays to Your Backyard
You can attract Steller’s Jays to your backyard by offering them peanuts and suet.
7. Boreal Chickadee: Facts About the Tiny Grayish-Brown Songbird
Boreal Chickadees (Poecile hudsonicus) are a small, captivating bird species found in Canada, Alaska, and occasionally in northern US states. In Alaska, they can be seen throughout the year and recorded in 5% of summer checklists and 13% of winter checklists for the state.
Appearance and Characteristics
These songbirds are tiny, measuring 4.9-5.5 inches (12.5-14 cm) in length and weighing 0.3-0.4 ounces (7-12.4 g). They have a dark brown cap, small black bib, cinnamon sides, and white underneath and on the cheeks. Boreal Chickadees can mostly be found in coniferous forests, often near water, but can also be found in deciduous or mixed forests.
Habitat and Diet
Boreal Chickadees feed on seeds and insects from the upper areas of the canopy and will readily visit feeders. They usually make their nests in dead trees, where the female makes a hole. The cavity is lined with moss and bark, and softer materials such as hair and feathers are added. These birds lay up to nine eggs, which take just over two weeks to hatch.
Attracting Boreal Chickadees
If you’re interested in attracting Boreal Chickadees to your backyard, it’s recommended to use Black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, suet, peanuts, and mealworms on most types of feeders. Also, putting up a nesting box can help attract a mating pair.
Fun Fact: These tiny birds will store seeds and insects for the long and harsh winter.
8. American Crow: The Large All-Black Bird Found in Most Habitats
American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) are common birds found in most habitats, including treetops, woods, fields, beaches, or towns. They are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound. These birds are residents all year in most of the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast in Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and the northern Midwest migrate south for winter. In Alaska, they can be spotted throughout the year and appear in 11% of summer checklists and 17% of winter checklists for the state.
Appearance and Characteristics
American Crows are larger than Boreal Chickadees, measuring 15.8-20.9 inches (40-53 cm) in length and weighing 11.2-21.9 ounces (316-620 g). They have a wingspan of 33.5-39.4 inches (85-100 cm) and are entirely black.
Habitat and Diet
They eat most things and usually feed on the ground, eating earthworms, insects, seeds, and fruit. They also eat fish, young turtles, mussels, and clams and will even eat eggs and nestlings of many species of birds. In winter, American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows to sleep in noisy communal roosts.
Attracting American Crows: If you want to attract American Crows to your backyard, scattering peanuts can help, but they can become a nuisance as they are attracted by garbage or pet food if left out.
9. Song Sparrow: The Little Brown Singer
The Song Sparrow, also known as Melospiza melodia, is a predominantly brown-streaked bird that uses its almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer. These birds can be spotted all year in Alaska, mainly in the south of the state along the coast. In summer checklists, they appear in 9% and in winter checklists, 11%.
Physical Characteristics and Habitat
Song Sparrows have a length of 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm), a weight of 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g), and a wingspan of 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm). They live all year in the northern US states, while those that breed in Canada migrate to southern US states for winter.
These birds can be found in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on a low shrub singing. They are often seen at backyard feeders. Song Sparrows eat a wide variety of insects and plants, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They will also consume buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.
Attracting Song Sparrows to Your Backyard
To attract Song Sparrows to your backyard, try putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders. This will entice these birds to come to your yard and feed.
10. Chestnut-backed Chickadee: The Charming Little Bird
Another charming bird species that can be found in Alaska is the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, also known as Poecile rufescens. These birds are year-round residents of Alaska and are mainly spotted in the southeast of the state. In summer checklists, they occur in 4% and in winter checklists, 11%.
Physical Characteristics and Habitat
Chestnut-backed Chickadees are tiny birds with black caps and throats and white cheeks. They are a rich chestnut on their backs and sides and have gray wings and bellies. In California, their sides are gray instead of brown. These birds have a length of 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm), a weight of 0.3-0.4 oz (7-12 g), and a wingspan of 7.5 in (19 cm).
Chestnut-backed Chickadees live in flocks in wet evergreen forests along the Pacific Coast and are regular visitors to backyard feeders. You can usually find them in conifer forests, where they eat mostly insects, including caterpillars, spiders, wasps, and aphids. Seeds, berries, and fruit make up the rest of their diet.
Chestnut-backed Chickadees usually nest in holes in rotten wood, either made by the birds themselves or old woodpecker nests. The nest is lined with moss and bark, and then softer materials such as fur and grass are added. They lay up to eleven eggs, which take around two weeks to hatch, and nearly three weeks for the young to leave the nest.
Attracting Chestnut-backed Chickadees to Your Backyard
To attract Chestnut-backed Chickadees to your yard, you can provide them with the food and shelter they need. They are attracted to black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, nyjer, peanuts, or mealworms in tube feeders, platform feeders, or suet cages. They will also use nest boxes.
11. Downy Woodpecker: A Guide to Identifying and Attracting Them to Your Backyard in Alaska
The Downy Woodpecker is a small bird that can be found in Alaska throughout the year, but is more commonly seen during winter months. They are spotted in 2% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.
Downy Woodpeckers have black and white feathers with a distinctive red patch at the back of their heads. They are often confused with Hairy Woodpeckers but are smaller in size. The Downy Woodpecker’s scientific name is Dryobates pubescens. They measure between 5.5-6.7 inches in length, weigh between 0.7-1.0 ounces, and have a wingspan of 9.8-11.8 inches.
Habitat and Diet
These birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards. Their diet consists mainly of insects and beetle larvae, but they also eat berries, acorns, and grains.
Attracting Downy Woodpeckers to Your Backyard
If you want to attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard, consider offering them their favorite treat – suet. You can also feed them black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders. Make sure to provide a source of fresh water, as they also need to drink and bathe.
Conclusion: In Alaska, you can identify different woodpeckers by their unique features, and the Downy Woodpecker is a common species you can attract to your backyard. By offering them the right food and habitat, you can enjoy watching these birds up close and learn more about their behavior and habits.
12. Pine Siskin: A Small but Colorful Finch Found in Alaska
Pine Siskins are small and agile finches that are commonly found in Alaska. While some migrate through the western parts of the state during their breeding season in the east, others remain all year long in the south of the state. According to bird checklists, Pine Siskins are recorded in 8% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists for the state.
Physical Characteristics of Pine Siskin
Pine Siskins are small, brown finches that have yellow streaks on their wings and tails. They have forked tails, pointed wings, and a short pointed bill that helps them in extracting seeds from conifers. The scientific name for Pine Siskins is Spinus Pinus, and they measure approximately 4.3-5.5 inches (11-14 cm) in length, weigh between 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g), and have a wingspan of 7.1-8.7 inches (18-22 cm).
Habitat and Distribution
Pine Siskins are primarily found in pine forests in western states and along the Canadian border. They breed in Canada before heading south for winter. However, depending on the pine cone crops, Pine Siskins can be found in much of North America. Pine Siskins feed mainly on seeds from conifers, but they also eat young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.
Attracting Pine Siskins to Your Backyard
If you want to attract Pine Siskins to your backyard, consider setting up a thistle or nyjer feeder. Pine Siskins also enjoy black oil sunflower seeds and suet. Providing these types of food will increase the likelihood of attracting Pine Siskins to your yard.
Get to Know Other Finch Species in Alaska
There are several species of finches in Alaska that bird enthusiasts can get to know. These species have different physical characteristics and behaviors that make them unique. By familiarizing yourself with different species, you will not only enjoy watching them but also appreciate their role in the ecosystem.
13. Yellow-rumped Warbler: Alaska’s Beloved Songbird
Yellow-rumped Warblers are one of Alaska’s beloved songbirds, spending the breeding season in the state and being mainly spotted here from April to November. They are recorded in 21% of summer checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state. Let’s learn more about this charming bird.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump, and white in the wings. Females may be slightly brown, and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides, turning bright yellow and gray again in spring. With a length of 4.7-5.5 inches and a wingspan of 7.5-9.1 inches, they are small and compact.
Breeding and Migration
Yellow-rumped Warblers breed predominantly in Canada and parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains. During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in southern and southwestern US states, the Pacific Coast, and into Mexico and Central America.
Habitat and Diet
You can find Yellow-rumped Warblers in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they eat mostly insects, and on migration and in winter, they eat mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle.
Attracting Yellow-rumped Warblers
To attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard, try sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter. They are attracted to a variety of foods and feeders.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are a delight to observe with their stunning appearance and melodic song. With a little effort, you can attract these charming birds to your backyard and enjoy their beauty and music.
14. Discover the Beauty of Orange-crowned Warblers in Alaska
Orange-crowned Warblers are a unique species of warbler that are spotted mainly during the summer months in Alaska, from April to September. These small birds are known for their yellow-olive coloring, which is not as vibrant as other warbler species. In this article, we will explore the features, habitat, and diet of Orange-crowned Warblers, as well as ways to attract them to your backyard.
Features of Orange-crowned Warblers
Orange-crowned Warblers are small in size, with an average length of 4.3-5.5 inches (11-14 cm) and a weight of 0.3-0.4 ounces (7-11 g). Their wingspan measures 7.5 inches (19 cm). They have a yellow-olive coloring, and the orange crown that gives them their name is rarely seen. The males and females are similar in appearance, and they have a slim, pointed beak.
Habitat and Migration
Orange-crowned Warblers breed in Canada and Western US states before migrating to the Pacific, East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Mexico. They are also seen during migration across all states. In Alaska, they are mainly spotted in shrubs and low vegetation and breed in open woodland. They prefer to live in open forests, and they tend to avoid dense forests.
Habitat and Diet
Orange-crowned Warblers are insectivorous birds, and their diet mainly consists of insects, spiders, caterpillars, and flies. However, they will also eat fruit, berries, and seeds. They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, and they will readily eat suet and peanut butter.
Attracting Orange-crowned Warblers to Your Backyard
If you want to attract Orange-crowned Warblers to your backyard, you can offer them suet and peanut butter or hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar. You can also plant trees and shrubs that produce fruit or berries, such as elderberry and serviceberry.
Conclusion: Orange-crowned Warblers are a beautiful and unique species of warbler that are a delight to watch. Their yellow-olive coloring and slim beaks make them easy to identify. By understanding their features, habitat, and diet, you can attract them to your backyard and enjoy their company all summer long.
15. White-crowned Sparrow: Breeding Season, Appearance, and Habitat
White-crowned Sparrows are a common sight in Alaska during the breeding season, which typically runs from May to August. While many of these birds migrate south for the winter, some can be found in the state year-round. In fact, up to 17% of summer checklists and 3% of winter checklists submitted by birdwatchers include sightings of White-crowned Sparrows.
These large, grayish sparrows are easily recognized by their long tails, small bills, and bold black and white stripes on their heads. They belong to the species Zonotrichia leucophrys and measure between 5.9 and 6.3 inches in length, with a weight range of 0.9 to 1.0 ounces and a wingspan between 8.3 and 9.4 inches.
Breeding and Migration Patterns
White-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and arctic Canada, then head south to the lower 48 states and Mexico for the winter. However, some of these birds may remain along the Pacific Coast and the mountainous western region of North America all year. During migration, these sparrows can be seen throughout the western US and along the Gulf Coast.
Habitat and Diet
White-crowned Sparrows are often found in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges, and even in yards, where they forage for seeds of weeds and grasses, as well as fruit such as elderberries and blackberries. These birds are attracted to sunflower seeds and will also eat seeds that other birds drop at feeders.
Tips for Attracting White-crowned Sparrows
To attract White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard, consider offering sunflower seeds or other types of birdseed. Additionally, you can create an inviting habitat for these birds by planting native weeds, grasses, and berry-producing shrubs.
In conclusion, while White-crowned Sparrows may appear to be plain and unremarkable, they are fascinating birds that are well worth getting to know. So keep an eye out for these beautiful birds during your next birdwatching excursion, and don’t forget to take notes and snap some pictures!
16. Ruby-crowned Kinglet: A Delicate and Elusive Songbird of Alaska
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Corthylio calendula) is a small and charming songbird that breeds in Alaska during the summer months. It is present in 14% of summer checklists in the state. Despite its striking name, the males’ ruby crown is often flat and difficult to see, making it a challenging bird to spot in the wild.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are petite, with an average length of 3.5-4.3 inches (9-11 cm) and a weight of 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g). They have an olive-green color, and the males sport a striking red crown on their heads. The wingspan of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is 6.3-7.1 inches (16-18 cm).
Habitat and Migration
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet breeds in Canada and the mountainous west before migrating to southern and southwestern US states and Mexico for the winter. They prefer dense forests, wooded areas with shrubs, and the edges of wetlands. They are known to forage in trees and bushes in search of insects and spiders. During migration, they can be spotted throughout Alaska and are a rare winter visitor.
Habits and Behavior
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are challenging to spot due to their fast and erratic movements, and they move quietly through lower branches and shrubs in search of their prey. They can be seen in Alaska during the breeding season from April to September.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets primarily feed on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. To attract them to your backyard, consider putting out suet or a platform feeder filled with hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is an elusive and delicate bird that brings beauty to Alaska’s landscape. While it can be challenging to spot, it is worth the effort to catch a glimpse of this stunning bird.
17. Rock Pigeon: An Overview of This Common City Bird in Alaska
Rock Pigeons are a common sight in Alaska, particularly in the southeast part of the state. These birds can be found throughout the year and appear in 3% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists.
Appearance and Physical Characteristics
Rock Pigeons are blueish gray birds with two black bands on their wings and black tips on their tails. They have iridescent throat feathers and striking orange eyes. These birds have a length ranging from 11.8 to 14.2 inches, a weight of 9.3 to 13.4 ounces, and a wingspan of 19.7 to 26.4 inches.
Habitat and Distribution
Rock Pigeons can be found in all US states, southern Canada, and the Pacific Coast to Alaska. They have adapted well to urban environments and are commonly seen in cities. In Alaska, they prefer the southeast region of the state. These birds do not migrate and can be found in Alaska throughout the year.
Rock Pigeons are primarily granivores, meaning they feed on seeds. They can eat a variety of seeds, such as sunflower seeds, millet, and corn. These birds also feed on insects, such as beetles and caterpillars.
Rock Pigeons are common in cities and often visit backyards for birdseed on the ground. Some people consider them pests and cities may have ordinances against feeding pigeons. However, if you want to attract Rock Pigeons to your backyard, you can scatter birdseed on the ground or provide a bird feeder with a seed mix.
Conclusion: Rock Pigeons are a common and adaptable bird found throughout Alaska and the rest of North America. With their striking appearance and interesting behaviors, they can make an interesting addition to any backyard birdwatching setup.
18. Pine Grosbeak: The Red Bird of Northern Alaska
Introduction: Pine Grosbeaks are known for their striking red coloration and are a familiar sight in Alaska. Although they breed in the northern region, they are also present throughout the year in the southern areas of the state. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about Pine Grosbeaks, from their appearance to their habitat, and how to attract them to your backyard.
Appearance: Male Pine Grosbeaks have a red plumage, with gray on the wings and tail, and two white wingbars. Females, on the other hand, are mostly gray with dull orange heads and rumps. Compared to other finches, Pine Grosbeaks are relatively large and slow.
Distribution: Pine Grosbeaks are mostly found in Canada, with some sightings along the US border, the mountainous west, and the Sierra Nevada in California. In Alaska, they appear in 2% of summer checklists and 16% of winter checklists due to the lack of other birds during the winter season.
Habitat: You can find Pine Grosbeaks in forests of pine, spruce, and fir, where they feed on seeds, fruit, and buds from these trees. In the summer, they will also eat some insects.
Attracting Pine Grosbeaks to Your Backyard: If you want to attract Pine Grosbeaks to your backyard, consider using black oil sunflower seed feeders or suet feeders. These birds are known to be attracted to these types of feeders, so placing them in your backyard can increase the chances of seeing these beautiful birds up close.
Other Red Birds in Alaska: Although Pine Grosbeaks are fascinating birds to watch, Alaska has many other red birds that you can spot. Keep an eye out for other species such as the Red Crossbill, Redpoll, and Scarlet Tanager.
Conclusion: Pine Grosbeaks are a remarkable bird species that can be found in Alaska all year round. Their unique appearance, habitat, and feeding behavior make them an interesting species to observe. With the right equipment and knowledge, you can attract these birds to your backyard and experience their beauty up close.
19. Discover the Beauty of Yellow Warbler in Alaska
Yellow Warblers are among the most colorful migratory birds that can be seen in Alaska from May to November. With their bright yellow plumage, they are easily spotted in up to 11% of summer checklists. Let’s learn more about these beautiful birds.
Appearance: Yellow Warblers are small birds that measure 4.7-5.1 inches in length and weigh 0.3-0.4 oz. The males have chestnut streaks on their breasts, while the females have a less distinct pattern. Both sexes have yellow-green backs.
Migration: Yellow Warblers breed in Canada and the US, except for southeastern states. They migrate a long distance to reach their breeding grounds and then return to Central and South America for winter. During migration, they can also be seen in southeastern US states.
Habitat: Yellow Warblers can be found along streams and wetlands, in thickets and along the edges of fields foraging for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.
Attracting Yellow Warblers: If you want to attract Yellow Warblers to your backyard, try providing suet, oranges, peanut butter, and plants with berries. Also, plant native plants that attract insects without pesticides or being too tidy! Birdbaths with fountains near secluded thickets can also provide protection and attract these colorful birds.
Other Warblers in Alaska: While Yellow Warblers are a sight to behold, there are plenty of other warblers that can be spotted in Alaska. Take the time to explore and discover these beautiful birds before they migrate away.
20. Hairy Woodpecker: Facts, Identification, and Where to Spot Them
Hairy Woodpeckers are a common sight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts in North America. In this article, we will explore the identification, behavior, and habitat of these fascinating birds.
Identification: Hairy Woodpeckers are medium-sized birds that measure between 7.1-10.2 inches (18-26 cm) in length and weigh between 1.4-3.4 ounces (40-95 g). They have a distinctive black and white pattern with a large white patch on their backs. The males have a flash of red towards the back of their heads. Hairy Woodpeckers are visually similar to Downy Woodpeckers but larger and with longer bills.
Behavior and Habitat
Hairy Woodpeckers do not migrate and live in all US states and Canada, except the far north of Canada. They are mainly spotted between September and April, but they can be found in Alaska all year. They occur in 3% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists for the state.
You can find Hairy Woodpeckers in woodlands on trunks or main branches of large trees, but they are also found in a wide variety of habitats, including woodlots, parks, and cemeteries. Hairy Woodpeckers’ diet is mostly insects. They are often found in the same areas as Downy Woodpeckers, making it hard to tell them apart if they are not near each other.
Where to Spot Them
If you want to spot Hairy Woodpeckers, you should visit woodlands or other areas with large trees. These birds are not very picky when it comes to their habitat, so you can find them in a variety of locations. They are more common in the northern parts of the US and Canada, but they can be found throughout the continent.
Attracting Hairy Woodpeckers to Your Backyard
If you want to attract Hairy Woodpeckers to your backyard, you can set up suet feeders. These birds are insectivorous, so they will be attracted to suet feeders that contain insects. Suet feeders can be purchased at most bird supply stores or online.
Conclusion: Hairy Woodpeckers are fascinating birds that are a common sight in North America. They are easy to identify and can be found in a variety of habitats. If you want to spot these birds, you should visit woodlands or other areas with large trees. If you want to attract them to your backyard, you can set up suet feeders.
Exploring the Common Birds in Alaska Throughout the Year
Alaska’s bird species change with the seasons, and the birds that are commonly seen in backyards may vary depending on the time of year. Let’s take a look at the common birds that you can expect to see in Alaska at different times of the year.
Summer Backyard Birds in Alaska:
During June and July, American Robins are the most frequently observed birds in Alaska’s backyards, making up 34.7% of sightings. Dark-eyed Juncos follow closely at 24%, with Yellow-rumped Warblers (21.1%) and Orange-crowned Warblers (19.6%) also being quite common. Other birds that may visit your feeders or lawn include the White-crowned Sparrow (17.7%), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (14.2%), Black-billed Magpie (13.1%), Black-capped Chickadee (11.7%), American Crow (11.6%), and Yellow Warbler (11.3%).
Winter Backyard Birds in Alaska:
As the weather grows colder, the birds in Alaska’s backyards change. In December and January, the most common birds at feeders and on lawns are the Black-capped Chickadee (33.2%) and Black-billed Magpie (32.5%). Dark-eyed Juncos (21.5%) and Red-breasted Nuthatches (21.4%) are also commonly observed, along with American Crows (17.4%), Pine Grosbeaks (16.1%), Boreal Chickadees (13.8%), Downy Woodpeckers (11.9%), Song Sparrows (11.7%), and Steller’s Jays (11.5%).
Whether it’s summer or winter, you’re likely to see a wide variety of bird species in Alaska’s backyards. These common birds are the ones most frequently spotted at feeders or on lawns, and they can make for some beautiful sights while bird-watching. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be ready to spot some of Alaska’s most popular backyard birds throughout the year.
Top Bird Feeders to Attract Birds in Alaska
If you want to attract a variety of bird species to your backyard in Alaska, it’s important to have a variety of feeders. Here are some of the best bird feeders to attract different types of birds:
- Tube Feeders: These feeders can be filled with different types of birdseed, and depending on the seed, different birds will be attracted. Black oil sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.
- Ground Feeders: A tray below a Tube Feeder with black oil sunflower seeds will attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Platform Feeders: These feeders are perfect for millet or corn and attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
- Peanut Feeders: These feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
- Suet Feeders: These feeders are especially great in the winter and attract Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
- Hummingbird Feeders: These feeders attract not only the tiny fascinating hummingbirds but also other birds too.
In conclusion, having a variety of bird feeders and birdseed types will attract a diverse range of bird species to your backyard in Alaska. Consider adding these bird feeders to your backyard to enjoy the beautiful birds of Alaska.
Attracting Birds to Your Backyard in Alaska: Tips and Tricks
Alaska offers a unique and breathtaking backdrop for birdwatchers, but attracting birds to your backyard can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you attract more birds to your yard in Alaska:
- Provide a variety of bird feeders: Different types of birds are attracted to different kinds of birdseed. Use tube feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds to attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins. Ground feeders or a tray below a tube feeder with black oil sunflowers attracts Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows. Platform feeders with millet or corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings. Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows. Suet feeders are great for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees, especially in winter. Hummingbird feeders are great for attracting these fascinating tiny birds, but they may also attract other birds too.
- Provide a water feature: Birds need water for drinking and bathing, so providing a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream will attract more birds. Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant, as this can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests.
- Grow native plants: Native plants provide food and shelter for birds. Plant trees, shrubs, and plants that produce fruit, berries, and nuts. Some great examples of native plants in Alaska include blackberries, wild grasses, elderberries, serviceberries, Oaks, Beeches, Cherries, sumacs, hemlocks, Purple Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Buttonbush, and Dogwoods.
- Let your grass grow long: Birds need cover and seeds, so let your grass grow long to provide cover and seed heads for birds to feed on.
- Leave a brush pile: A brush pile provides food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds. Birds will use the pile to forage for food and to build their nests.
- Avoid using pesticides and herbicides: These chemicals can be toxic to birds and prevent natural foraging opportunities for insects and seeds that birds will seek in your yard.
- Set up nest boxes: Nest boxes provide a safe and secure place for birds to breed. Ensure that you clean the boxes every year to prevent the spread of disease.
By following these tips, you will attract a wide variety of birds to your backyard in Alaska, making your birdwatching experience even more enjoyable.
How to Spot and Identify Birds in Alaska: A Comprehensive Guide for Birdwatchers
Alaska is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 450 species of birds that can be spotted throughout the state. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, identifying birds in Alaska can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Here are some tips and tricks to help you identify birds in Alaska, whether you’re out in the field or observing from the comfort of your own home.
Size Matters: How to Gauge Bird Sizes
Size is one of the most important factors when identifying birds. In guide books, birds are often measured in inches or centimeters. It’s best to take note of the bird’s size and categorize them as small, medium, or large. For instance, a small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is roughly the size of a pigeon, while a large bird is comparable to the size of a goose.
Silhouette and Shape: Understanding the Characteristics of Birds
Pay attention to the silhouette and shape of the bird, and jot down or sketch its outline. Observe the tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape. Identifying these physical characteristics can help you narrow down the bird’s species.
Color Patterns: Key to Identifying Birds
Take note of the bird’s main color on its head, back, belly, wings, and tail. Also, observe any secondary colors or patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights. By analyzing these color patterns, you can identify the bird’s species accurately.
Behavior: Understanding Bird Mannerisms
Birds exhibit various behaviors depending on their species. Some birds are ground-dwellers, while others prefer to perch on tree branches. Observe their flocking habits, whether they travel alone or in groups. Watch what they are eating as well. Noticing their behavior can help you in determining their species.
Habitat: Identifying Birds Based on Their Preferred Environment
Different bird species have different preferred habitats. Some prefer woodlands, while others prefer parks, shrubs, grasslands, or meadows. Some birds are found near shorelines or in marshes. Knowing a bird’s preferred habitat can help you narrow down the potential species.
Use Bird Identification Apps: Make the Most of Technology
Using bird identification apps like ebird or Audubon can make identifying birds in Alaska more accessible. These apps are user-friendly and have vast databases of bird species. They also provide information on each bird species, including pictures, audio recordings, and descriptions.
Final Thoughts: Identifying birds in Alaska can be an exciting experience for birdwatchers. Using these tips, you can identify birds in Alaska accurately, whether you’re out in the field or observing from the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that identifying birds takes practice and patience, but it is a worthwhile endeavor.