With the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) reporting there are 500 different species of bird in the northern state, you can guarantee you’ll see some interesting characters on your 2016 tour of the Inside Passage. Whether you’re using a camera zoom lens or good old fashioned binoculars, keep an eye out for the following birds during the voyage.
One of the smartest birds in the world, according to the ADFG, the common raven is not normally associated with Arctic conditions, but can be found throughout almost the entirety of Alaska. It holds special significance to many of the local native people – such as the Tlingit or Haida tribes whom you shall meet on an Alaskan tour – as one of their mythical figures. Indeed, if you read our related blog post ‘2 interesting myths from Alaska’s Inuit people’, you’ll see that the Raven (as the figure is known) is said to have placed the sun, stars and moon in the sky.
You’ll see many bird species aboard our expedition to Alaska, but few have as many nicknames as the surf scoter. These include the blossom-billed coot, goggle-nose, mussel bill and snuff taker. Why? Because the surf scoter has an unusually fat bill, which can come in quite brilliant colours as you’ll see below. These birds are great swimmers and divers, and on your tour you may spot some shooting into the rolling waves to catch an unsuspecting fish.
On a tour cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage, you will regularly stop to disembark and go for a walk through the pristine forests of the region, where you might spot the energetic little chestnut-backed chickadee. Often found making their nests with deer fur, these adorable birds can be found year-round on the west coast of North America, including Alaska and many southern areas. Fun fact: A group of this chickadee is called a ‘banditry’, reports WhatBird.
What bird is more patriotically American than the famous bald eagle? According to National Geographic, the highest population of these majestic predators can be found in Alaska, and indeed, the ADFG states that high nesting densities can be found in the southeastern regions. This is good news for Alaskan adventurers, because it means there’s a higher chance you’ll spot a bald eagle at some point during the trip. They like saltwater shores, so keep your eyes peeled!