Sitka, Alaska is teeming with wildlife from the fish, bears, raptors, and deer. If you want to enjoy your time observing wildlife without hunting or fishing, then it’s time to break out the binoculars for some bird watching! Here’s the best birds to look out for on your adventure.

By Alan D. Wilson – (Tufted Puffin)

Tufted Puffin

According to, “The tufted puffin has glossy black feathers on its body, a white face, a yellow and orange bill, and long yellow tufts of feathers behind each eye. The males tend to grow slightly larger than females.”

Puffins spend most of their life at sea. They come onto the shore during summer months for breeding. Make sure to come during the summertime for your best chance to see them!

Not only are these birds beautiful, but they have some unique behaviors. They can fly up to 40 miles per hour because they flap their wings up to 400 times per minute. Tufted Puffins use this speed to dive and catch fish as deep as 80 feet under the ocean’s surface.

The best place to see these Puffins is on St. Lazaria Island. On the outer edge of Sitka Sound, St. Lazaria is a 65-acre island that is a refugee to over half a million seabirds. Definitely a must-see spot for bird lovers.

Peter Massas – Drake Harlequin Duck, Barnegat

Harlequin Duck

The Harlequin Duck has one of the most striking appearances of any bird. Breeding male Harlequin Ducks are a spectacular slate blue with white stripes and chestnut sides. The pattern on the head is a white crescent around the eye with brown highlights. The females are less colorful with a chestnut brown body. After mating season ends, the males lose their bright colors and it can be hard to tell the difference to the untrained eye.

The Harlequin Duck spends its winters on the rocky coast closer to rough waters. During the breeding season, the ducks will be found near mountain streams. These ducks are common hunting targets so you can find them with relative ease.

By Andy Morffew, CC BY 2.0,

Bald Eagles

Now it’s time for the star of the show. Everyone wants to see an eagle when they come to Sitka! Luckily, that’s easy to do.

The large raptor with a brown body, white head, and hooked yellow beak has been a favorite bird of Americans since 1782. The Bald Eagle is Alaska’s largest resident bird with a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet and a weight of 9lbs.

You can see a bald eagle in the wild, but why not go visit the Alaska Raptor Center? The Alaska Raptor Center’s “primary mission is the rehabilitation of sick and injured eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and other birds of prey which are brought in from all over Alaska.” It’s located in Sitka!

These are just a few of the incredible birds in the area. Check out this list of all the observed birds in Sitka and find your favorite for your next birding trip!

You are going to need a place to rest your head after scoping out the area for the coolest birds. Come join us at the Sitka Hotel and book a room today.