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Birds

Black Oystercatcher preening. Photo by D. Sinnett
  • Overview

    Breeding marine birds include seabirds that nest colonially on cliffs and offshore rocks and islands such as black-legged kittiwakes, glaucous-winged gulls, horned and tufted puffins, and pelagic and red-faced cormorants. Of the 14 species of sea ducks in North America twelve can be found in the waters off shore of Kodiak in the winter:

    Common eider   
    King eider
    Steller's eider                 
         
    Bufflehead
    Surf scoter
    Black scoter                  
         
    White-winged scoter 
    Barrow's goldeneye              Common goldeneye 
    Long-tailed duck 
    Harlequin duck 
    Common merganser                      Red-breasted merganser   

    Several of these species remain year round to nest on Kodiak including harlequin ducks, Barrow’s goldeneye, black scoter, common eiders, and common and red-breasted mergansers.

    Many other water birds are abundant in winter including pelagic cormorants, common murres, glaucous-winged gulls, greater scaup, mallards, and black oystercatchers. Several species of landbirds also manage to survive harsh winters in Kodiak including black-billed magpies, northwestern crows, common ravens, black-capped chickadees, and golden-crowned kinglets. The Refuge invites the community to participate in the Kodiak Christmas Bird Count (CBC) every December aboard the Refuge’s 48-foot marine research vessel the Ursa Major II or join us in the summer for a citizen science program banding landbirds at the Buskin River.

  • Kittlitz's Murrelet

    KIMU adult

    Kodiak is also home to large numbers of marbled murrelets, a secretive seabird that nests on the massive moss covered limbs of old-growth trees and occasionally on the ground. Kittlitz’s murrelet, a close relative of the marbled murrelet, were recently discovered nesting on scree and talus slopes at relatively high elevation on Kodiak Refuge. This species has since become the focus of a major nesting ecology study conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the USGS Alaska Science Center, and Oregon State University.

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  • Bald Eagle

    bald eagle

    One of the most ubiquitous and conspicuous birds on Kodiak is the majestic bald eagle, which is resident year round on the island. The numbers of breeding bald eagles have steadily increased since the 1960s and have now stabilized on the Refuge, and eagles can be seen in large numbers in downtown Kodiak in the winter.

  • Steller's Eider

    Stellers Eider

    Species of concern such as emperor geese and Steller’s eiders are commonly encountered in the bays around Kodiak along with other wintering migrants. The Steller's eider is the smallest of the eiders, and the species has been listed as threatened on the Federal Register since 1997.

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Last Updated: Jan 03, 2013
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