Juneau Audubon Society

P.O. Box 21725

Juneau, AK 99802-1725

Winter Bird Observations

Juneau, Alaska

2003 - 2004


This report on migratory birds and other birds of note observed in Juneau during Winter, 2003 - 2004 was prepared by Gus vanVliet.



The Winter period extends from December 1 through February 29.


BA = Bev Agler

RA = Robert Armstrong

MB: Matt Brooks

DB: Detlef Buettner

DDG: Dan Gibson (UAM)

KH: Karla Hart

DM = Deanna MacPhail

MM: Mary McCafferty

NM: Nina Mollett

DR = Deb Rudis

MS: Mark Schwan

LS: Linda Shaw

PS: Paul Suchanek

GV = Gus VanVliet

SZ = Steve Zimmerman


Pacific Loon: a flock of (25) on 19 January near Mile 33 cliffs (GV) and another flock of (75) on 1 February at Tee Harbor (GV) represented the high numbers for this winter.

Great Egret: (1) first reported on 31 December, subsequently re-sighted on 1 January at Mendenhall Wetlands (MS, GV). The bird succumbed on 6 January and specimen sent to University of Alaska Museum (MS, KH, DDG). This constitutes the first winter record for mainland Alaska (several winter reports exist for the Aleutian Islands).

European Wigeon: a peak count of (3) males on 19 January at Fish Creek, N. Douglas presumably overwintered with American wigeon (3 males resighted on 4 March) (PS).

American Wigeon: The species overwintered in large numbers with a peak of (257) on 19 January at Fish Creek, N. Douglas (PS) – a high winter number for Juneau.

Eurasian Green-winged Teal: (1) male on 30 January and February 26 at Fish Creek, N. Douglas, also assumed to have overwintered (PS).

Lesser Scaup: (1) male on 11 January at Mendenhall Wetlands (GV), and up to (15) on Twin Lakes beginning in mid-February after thawing of ice (GV).

Surf Scoter and Black Scoter: very low numbers of these two species overwintered in the Juneau area. For Surf Scoter, it was rare to see flocks >20 for most of the winter, while even individual Black Scoters were difficult to locate.

Sharp-shinned Hawk: (1) adult on 16 January – 3 March at an Auke Bay feeder/brushpile (GV); (1) adult on 29 January at Lemon Creek (GV); and, (1) on 28 February near the Mendenhall Glacier (MB).

American Kestrel: (1) adult male again successfully over-wintered for the third year in a row near the Juneau airport (GV et al., photo RA) – presumably it’s been the same individual that constitutes Alaska’s first true over-wintering record.

Killdeer: up to (6) were observed in February at Fish Creek, N. Douglas (PS).

Greater Yellowlegs: (1) on 5 January at Mendenhall Wetlands (DR), perhaps(?) the same individual that over-wintered last year.

Spotted Sandpiper: (1) on 24-25 January near Auke Bay (NM, MS, GV), presumably(?) the same individual that was present last March 2003, constituting Alaska’s first true over-wintering record.

Rock Sandpiper (ptilocnemis subspecies): (2) on 17 January at Eagle Beach (GV), within the traditional over-wintering flock of ~400 rock sandpipers.

Glaucous Gull: (1) adult on 3 February at Eagle Beach (PS, photo).

Glaucous gull. Photo by Paul Suchanek

Thayer’s Gull: a roost of (250) adults on 6 December and (40) adults on 18 January at the traditional winter high-tide roost at Eagle Beach (GV).

Marbled Murrelet: (1500+) on Favorite Channel off the Boy Scout Camp beach on 15 February (GV).

Barred Owl: (1) on 27 December – 1 January at Auke Bay (DB, photos) and (1) on 4 February at N. Douglas (DR).

Northern Pygmy-Owl: at least 20(!) different individuals reported throughout the Juneau road-system this winter – probably the best winter for this species ever and probably a new Alaska high winter tally? (m. obs.) The very first one calling was heard on 29 February (GV).

Short-eared Owl: (1) overwintered from 6 December – 28 February at Mendenhall Wetlands (GV, BA, PS), and another (1) was found on 1 February at Eagle Beach (GV).

Hairy Woodpecker (septentrionalis subspecies): the (1) female from last fall overwintered at the same downtown feeder (MM), a rare record for Southeast Alaska for this Interior white-breasted subspecies.

Downy Woodpecker (glacialis subspecies): (1) male on 4 January through 29 February at Auke Bay suet feeder (GV).

Black-capped Chickadee: (1) through at least 14 December at a downtown feeder (MM, GV).

Red-breasted Nuthatch: (1) overwintered at a downtown feeder (MM) – the only report this winter.

Varied Thrush: (1) male overwintered at an upper Mendenhall Valley feeder (DM).

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (1) adult male overwintered at a downtown feeder (MM, GV) and another (1) near the mouth of Gold Creek on 14 December (SZ, MB) – rare records for Alaska.

American Tree Sparrow: (2) on 27 December at Mendenhall Wetlands (GV).

White-crowned Sparrow: (1) immature over-wintered through 29 February at an Auke Bay feeder (GV).

Rusty Blackbird: (4) on 13 December at Mendenhall Campground (LS).

Snow Bunting: a flock of (25) on 23 and 28 January at Lemon Creek (PS, GV) and (2) on 24 February at Pt. Bridget (PS).

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch: (5) reported on 1 January (LL) and (6) observed from 29 January through 1 February near downtown Juneau (GV, MM).

Crossbill sp.: unlike last winter’s large numbers, this season both species were virtually absent.


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Copyright 2005 Juneau Audubon Society, Inc.
Revised: June 12, 2009.