Wildlife Viewing

Horned Puffin photo by Greg Thomson

Wildlife Spectacles Abound

Abundant, unique and charismatic species make wildlife watching on this refuge a joy. Although access is difficult, the birds and mammals are easy to see once you get there. Cliffs swarming with seabirds, rafts of seaducks offshore in winter, otters, sea lions, birds blown in from Asia, and rare and unique species are viewing highlights.

Best Places These seven "hotspots" are the easiest places to wildlife watch on the refuge.
Near Homer
Near Seward
Near Sitka
The Pribilof Islands
Adak Island
Unalaska Island
Near Nome
Most Birds More than a millions birds nest on each of these refuge islands, St. George in the Pribilofs, Kiska, Chagulak, St. Matthew, Forrester and the Semidis. Another island, Buldir, is also in the "millionaire" class but is closed to the public to protect Steller sea lions. Other, more accessible, islands host at least a quarter million nesting seabirds such as St. Lazaria near Sitka, the Barren Islands near Homer and Egg Island near Unalaska.

Most Wanted Look here for the easiest access on the refuge to some of coastal Alaska's most sought after species:
  • Horned puffins - The Chiswell Islands, Barren Islands, the Pribilofs
  • Tufted puffins - St. Lazaria near Sitka, and islands near Seward, Homer, Kodiak 
  • Steller sea lion - Chiswell Islands near Seward 
  • Otters - Seward, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka waters
  • Eagles - Homer, Seward, Adak, Unalaska, throughout the refuge
  • Whales - near Seward, Barren Islands near Homer, near Sitka
  • Harbor seals - throughout SE Alaska, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Aleutians
Rarer Finds  Here is your guide on the best places to find some of the more unique species on or near the refuge.
Birds
  • Whiskered auklets - Baby Islands near Unalaska
  • Crested and least auklets - the Pribilof Islands and the Semidi Islands west. 
  • Cassin's auklets - the Semidi Islands west.
  • Parakeet auklets - from Homer and Seward west.
  • Red-legged kittiwakes - the Pribilof Islands
  • Asiatic birds - the Pribilof Islands in May, Attu or any western Aleutian island
  • Marbled murrelets - waters near Homer, Afognak and Adak
  • Kittlitz's murrelet - waters near Homer, Adak and Attu
  • Emperor goose -In winter - Kodiak, Unalaska and Adak
  • Aleutian cackling goose - Shemya, western Aleutians
  • McKay's bunting - St. Matthew Island
  • Evermann's rock ptarmigan - Attu Island
  • Aleutian song sparrow - Adak and west
  • Black guillemot - Cape Lisburne
  • Laysan, black-footed, and short-tailed albatross - Sequam Pass
Mammals
  • Marine Mammal Viewing Guidelines & Regulations
  •  Fur Seals - the Pribilofs
  • Walrus - St. Matthew (viewing is better at Round Island off the refuge)
  • Pribilof shrew - St. Paul Island
  • Arctic bluephase fox - the Pribilofs
  • Brown bear - Unimak Island