I very much appreciate J. Dan Webster’s enthusiasm for the birds of Sitka, his efforts in writing this account, and his willingness to allow me to share it freely.
THE BIRDS OF SITKA, ALASKA
J. Dan Webster
In the summer of 1827 the German naturalist F. H. Von Kittlitz (1858) spent five weeks investigating the birds of Sitka, then the capital of Russian America. During the ensuing 178 years, a whole procession of ornithologists has visited the area and studied briefly, nearly always in the summer. Especially productive was the work of Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869), Grinnell (1898), Willett (1914), and Bailey (1927), who stayed longer. Resident observers have been few, but E. W. Merrill (see Willett 1914) lived at Sitka from 1903 to 1929, and in recent years a group of dedicated bird-watchers has made Christmas counts (Leue 1975; Johnstone 1976, ff.; R. & D. Bailey 1990 ff; Hanson 1982 ff.) and reported other observations to Gibson (1971 ff.) and Tobish (1989 ff.). Also, small groups of bird-watchers have made 10 Christmas counts at Tenakee Springs and four at Port Alexander. I lived at Sitka from 1928 to 1940 and visited in recent years; my adult ornithological work at Sitka included 28 February to 10 September 1940 (Webster 1941 and other references), 6 to 16 June 1984,22 May to 30 June
1985,15 August to 9 September 1986 and 29 February to 3 March 2002.
For the boundary of the Sitka vicinity I have followed Willett (1914), Henning (1982), and others and included Baranof, Chichagof, and surrounding small islands. Thus, Icy Strait on the north separates away the mainland, and Chatham Strait on the east cleaves away the more easterly and southern islands of the Alexander Archipelago. Offshore, I have included records of marine birds seen as far as 100 miles from the coast. In the species list which follows, I have, in most cases, not cited the authors who reported specimens collected, but rather have indicated seasons of occurrence and approximate numbers on the scale of abundant, common, sparse, scarce, rare. I use these terms as follows: abundant—found every day in numbers; common— easily found on any day; sparse—one or a few found most days; scarce—difficult to find; rare— no more than one record a year. Population studies in the area were those on marine birds by Sowls, et al (1982), Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983), Trapp and King (1985), and Nelson et al (1987) and on land birds by Cotter and Andres (2000) and Andres et al (2004). If no specimen is on record, I have so indicated by an asterisk (*); if no specimen is on record from the entirety of southeastern Alaska, I have used a double asterisk (**). In a few cases, a dagger (t) indicates that an identifiable photograph is on file at the University of Alaska Museum. Abbreviations for museum names are: UA, University of Alaska; CAS, California Academy of Sciences; MVZ, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California; CU, Cornell University; MCZ, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University; UW, Burke Museum, University of Washington. With a few exceptions, subspecies names are used only where I have personally compared specimens from the area. Taxonomy follows Gibson and Kessel (1997) except in a few cases, where I have explained my disagreement. If no locality is specified, a spot within 7-1/2 miles of the Sitka airport, as used by the Christmas count, is understood. I studied the field notes (from their 1896 trip to Sitka) of J. and J. W. Mailliard at CAS and of J. Grinnell (from his 1896 summer at Sitka) at MVZ.
I thank the following: Elaine Boehmer, Margaret Dangel, Daniel Gibson, Richard Gordon, Kent Hanson, Alice and Charles Johnstone, Karl Kenyon, Goldie Pringle, and Gustav Swanson, generously allowed me to quote their field notes. Kent Hanson, Charles Johnstone, Gustav Swanson, David Webster and Juanita Webster were important field associates in various years. Brad Andras provided me with the data from the 1993-98 Breeding Bird Survey routes at Sitka and Hoonah (2 routes), some field work at Sitka and Hoonah in June and July 1997, and field work at Tonalite Creek in June, 1998 by M. & J. Stotte, all by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The authorities of the museums listed above allowed me to study their collections. Brina Kessel and Daniel Gibson allowed me to study their unpublished manuscript on the birds of Alaska and quote it. Daniel Gibson, Brina Kessel, and Winifred Sidle read the manuscript and
LIST OF SPECIES
Red-throated Loon. Gavia stellata. Scarce in winter; sparse in other seasons. Nests at Swan Lake where found by Eldridge Merrill in June of several years, 1904 to 1913 (Willett 1914).
Pacific Loon. Gavia pacifica. Sparse in summer; common in winter, spring, and fall. Whether or not it breeds is uncertain.
[Common Loon. Gavia immer. Not included in original manuscript.]
Yellow-billed Loon. Gavia adamsii. Scarce winter visitant and migrant; rare summer non- breeder. Extreme dates from 24 October 1920 in Chatham Strait by Alfred M. Bailey (1927) to 29 April 1940 when I saw one in Olga Strait. Also, Daniel Gibson (1976a) saw one off Peisar Island 22 July 1975. Recorded in small numbers on 18 of the 28 Christmas counts.
t **Pied-billed Grebe. Podilymbus podiceps. Rare summer visitor and wintering bird; scarce migrant, mostly in March, October and November. No breeding record.
*Horned Grebe. Podiceps auritus. Common in winter, spring and fall. Dates from 22 August 1986 (Kent Hanson and I) to 1 May 1940 (Webster 1941).
Red-Necked Grebe. Podiceps grisegena holbellii. Common in winter, spring and fall. Dates from 24 July 1913 near St. Lazaria Island by George Willett (1914) to 11 May 1940 when I saw one in Sitka Bay. Also, one was seen on the Sitka Breeding Bird Survey,
1993-97, in June.
*Western Grebe. Aechmophorus occidentalis. Rare in all seasons. One was seen 7 July 1969 in Lumber Cove, Chichagof Island, by Richard Gordon (Kessel and Gibson 1978); two at Sitka, 2 January 1977 (Johnstone 1977); and three in South Passage, Icy Strait, 22 February 1984 by John L. Trapp (Gibson 1984). Marjorie Ward saw one at Sitka, 16 December 1990. A. Welv reported 150 in Peril Straits, 17 November 1991. Recorded on five of the 28 Christmas counts.
Short-tailed Albatross. Diomedea albatrus. Rare oceanic wanderer. Gerald Sanger (1972a) reported an immature seen 70 miles west of Salisbury Sound 14 May 1956. F. H. von Kittlitz (1858) collected two in Sitka Sound, 2 and 21 July 1827, but the specimens have not been checked since the description of D. immutabilis.
*Black-footed Albatross. Diomedea nigripes. Common visitant on offshore waters in summer (Sanger 1972), sometimes venturing inshore to southern Chatham Strait and even Sitka Bay. Extreme dates are 20 May 1908 by Merrill (Willett 1914) to 14 October 1948, several about 10 miles west of Cape Edgecumbe, and 26 November 1947, one in Cross Sound (Karl Kenyon 1950).
**Laysan Albatross. Diomedea immutabilis. Scarce oceanic wanderer. Sanger (1972,1974) reported these sightings: 100 miles west of Salisbury Sound in February (apparently 1967, but day and year not precisely given); 25 miles southwest of Cape Edgecumbe in May (apparently 1956); 50 miles west of Cape Ommaney in May (apparently 1956); 100 miles west-southwest of Cape Edgecumbe in May (apparently 1956).
*Northern Fulmar. Fulmarus glacialis. Common offshore in fall and winter, occasionally approaching shore. There are only these records: One seen in Chatham Strait 6 September 1913 by Willett (1914); several in Sitka Sound 12 August 1940; a few in lower Chatham Strait 11 August 1940, and a few near Hazy Islands 21 August 1945 by Gabrielson (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Near Vitzkari Rock Charles Johnstone saw one 3 August 1982; Hanson and I saw two on 18 August and one 19,20, and 29 August 1986. Sowls, et al (1982) saw a few near Hazy Islands 4 Jun 1981. Sanger (1972) noted it as abundant to common offshore 1 February to 8 March 1967. Gordon saw several off Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969. Kenyon saw several in outer Cross Island Sound 26 November 1947.
Mottled Petrel. Pterodroma inexpectata. Sparse visitant offshore in spring and summer, but rarely wanders to inshore waters (Willett 1914 and Kessel and Gibson 1978). Merrill collected one near Sitka 17 May 1908 (UW). Sanger (1972) listed it as rare offshore 1 February to 8 March 1967.
*Pink-footed Shearwater. Puffinus creatopus. C. Johnstone counted 24 on 22 August 1983 west of Chichagof Island and 10 on 8 July 1983 near Vitzkari Rock.
**Buller’s Shearwater. Puffinus bulleri. One was seen 6 September 1997, offshore (precise locality not stated) by D. W. Sonneborn.
*Short-tailed Shearwater. Puffinus tenuirostris. Johnstone identified several on 8 July 1983 in company with the Pink-footed and Sooty species near Vitzkari Rock. At least three of the dark shearwaters seen by Johnstone and me 29 June 1985 between Vitzkari Rock and St. Lazaria Island were probably this species. Gordon saw several off Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969. This species is extremely difficult to distinguish in the field from the Sooty Shearwater, and so all sight records of both species are suspect inter se.
Sooty Shearwater. Puffinus griseus. Abundant visitant on offshore waters in summer; sometimes inshore to Sitka Sound and southern Chatham Strait Dates from 4 June 1981 near Hazy Islands (Sowls et al 1982) and 19 June 1985 near Vitzkari Rock (I saw 50) to 25 September 1981 near Vitzkari Rock by C. Johnstone. Sanger (1972) listed dark shearwaters is common offshore, 1 May to 9 June 1956, but did not distinguish the species. H. H. Hindshaw (specimen, UW) took one 21 July 1896.
Fork-tailed Storm-petrel. Oceanodroma furcata plumbea. Breeds in large numbers on St. Lazaria, Sealion, and probably Hazy Islands. Population studies (Sowls et al, 1982, Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983, Nelson et al 1987) made in 1981 and 1982 indicated 115,000 breeding pairs on St. Lazaria and 3,100 to 4,500 on Sealion Island. Common offshore at all seasons, but sometimes wanders into Sitka Bay, where I saw one 10 August 1940 and others October and November of several preceding years. Others were seen on Sitka Bay 15 October 1975 by Fred Glass (Gibson 1976); 1 October 1913 by Willett (1914); early September 1984 by Hanson; late February and March 1985 by C. Johnstone and Hanson, 11 December 2003 by Ward and Tedin. C. Johnstone saw another inshore wanderer at the head of Fish Bay 31 August 1984. Recorded on two of the 28 Christmas counts.
Leach’s Storm-petrel. Oceanodroma leucorhoa beli. Presumably offshore resident, but the only records are of nesting birds at island colonies. Population studies (Sowls et al 1982; Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983; Nelson if al 1987) made in 1981 and 1982 indicated 131,000 breeding pairs on St. Lazaria, 900 to 1,300 on Sealion Islands, less than 500 on Hazy Islands and a small numbers on Wooden Island. J. and J. W. Mailliard (MS from 1896), Willett (1914), Sowls et al (1982), Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983), Nelson et al (1987) and I examined nests and eggs on St. Lazaria in years from 1896 to 1984. In October 1976 L. L. Johnson found “many dead following heavy offshore storm in the Sitka Sound” (not clear where, precisely, the dead birds were found; Kessel and Gibson MS). (See entry for Great Horned Owl.) I have examined many specimens from all localities along the Pacific Coast (Aleutian Islands to Baja CA) and disagree with Ainley (1980) and Gibson (1997); beali is a valid race.
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus cincinatus. Common in winter; sparse in other seasons. The only breeding record is by Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983 and Gibson 1982), one nest on Hazy Islands 25 July 1982. Sightings of juveniles 21 Jun 1981 at Vitzkari Rock and in Cross Sound 10 June 1981 by Sowls (1982) are also suggestive of breeding.
*Brandt’s Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus. Summer visitant in small numbers. Nests on Hazy Island, 123 nests 25 to 28 July 1982 by Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983) (see also Gibson 1982), and St. Lazaria Island, 120 nests and 130 birds 13 June 1984 by Hanson and me (see Nelson et al 1987). In 1985 I saw three at St Lazaria 19 June but apparently they weren’t nesting. On 20 August 1986 I saw one immature (probably a yearling) on Vitzkari Rock in a flock of the following species.
Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus pelagicus. Common in all seasons. Nests reported on St Lazaria Island (many different years and observers, numbers erratic, from none to 150 pairs, Nelson etal 1987), small islands off Biorka (Willett 1914), Hazy Islands (seen by Lehnausen and Nelson, Gibson 1982), Rodgers Island, Terbilon Island, Viesokoi Rock, Trubitsin Cove, and Urey Rock (last five by Sowls et al 1982).
**Red-faced Cormorant. Phalacrocorx urile. Rare straggler; one seen in late February 1980 by Isleib and others (Gibson 1980). One was seen on the 15 December 2002 Christmas count.
Great Blue Heron. Ardea herodias fannini. Sparse resident. Grinnell (1898) reported newly fledged young. Wik and Streveler (1968) stated that Black saw several nests with young on Lemesurier Island 6-30 June 1955.
t**Cattle Egret. Bubulcus ibis. In 1984, C. Johnstone saw one 8 to 10 November and Johnson saw one in Peril Strait 11 November (Gibson 1985). One was captured alive 18 December 1986 and photographed by Hanson before being released (Gibson 1987); it was recorded on the Christmas count 21 December 1986. Ward (Tobish 1994) saw one at Sitka 1 November 1993.
Tundra Swan. Cygnus columbianus columbianus. Scarce, formerly common, migrant. Definite dates of observation are “April,” 18 April 1940 (specimen I examined in hand), and 28 September 1913 (Willett 1914) to 11 November 1931 (my observation). It was recorded on two of the 28 Christmas counts.
t*Trumpeter Swan. Cygnus buccinator. Sparse winter visitant and with one summer record. The only swan records attributed to this species were recent: Recorded on 10 of the 28 Christmas counts. C. Johnstone saw and heard a flock of 23 near Goddard 25 September 1981. Hanson in 1985 saw and heard 18 near Goddard (<§:) 26 March and one on Swan Lake 13 May. Gordon saw one on the west coast of Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969. At Starrigavan Creek in 1974, Robert Ritchie saw two 25 January and C. Johnston saw and heard one 1, 15, 20, 26, and 27 April (Kessel and Gibson MS). Ward (Tobish 1994) saw three December 5 through 19, 1993. Ward and Marlys Tedin (Tobish 1999) saw 10 December 1,1998 and 21 from 17 December 2000 to the end of that year.
Greater White-fronted Goose. Anser albifrons. Sparse migrant and rare winter visitant. Willett (1914) listed April, September, and October records. Bailey (1927) saw a few daily in Hoonah Sound, 8 to 17 May 1920. Hanson has seen flocks in September and October and killed one or two in the 1980s; on 24 August 1986 he saw a flock of 75 pass over Goddard. Johnson saw one for two weeks in November 197 and a group of four at Starrigavan Creek around 11 May 1976 (Kessel and Gibson). Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1997,1999,2002) reported many in the early fall of 1996, with singles until 30 November, and one that lingered all that winter; also 1 to 12 December 1998, and one all winter of 2001-2. I saw a flock of 30 in Nakwasina Pass 3 March 2002. Recorded on three of the 28 Christmas counts.
t*Snow Goose. Chen cararulescens. Scarce migrant. In 1940 (Webster, 1941) I saw flocks at Sitka 10 to 31 May. Johnstone saw one for two weeks in mid-November 1975 (Kessel and Gibson MS). Ward and Tedin saw 12 on 22 November 2001 (Tobish 2002).
*Ross’ Goose. Chen rossii. Rare migrant. I saw two on the Indian River flats 26 April 1940.
t*Emperor Goose. Chen canagica. Rare winter visitant. Willett (1914) hesitatingly listed it on the basis of vague ascriptions by earlier writers. Recently (Gibson 1984) Johnson, C. Johnstone, and Hanson saw one several times in December 1983 to 20 April 1984. Hanson and C. Johnstone also saw two all winter of 1977-78. Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2000) saw and photographed three 23 to 30 December 1999.
Brant. Branta bernicla. Sparse migrant; scarce in winter and as a non-breeder in summer. In 1940 (Webster 1941) I saw two in Olga trait 28 February, two at Indian River flats 18 April, and a flock of 20 at various points on Kruzof Island 30 April to 4 May. In 1984 Gustav Swanson, Hanson and I saw a flock of 18 in Nakwasina Pass 12 June. In 1985 I saw 16 in Port Krestof 30 May and 25 there on 5 June. Hanson examined a brant killed by a poacher about 5 May 1968 which was wearing FWS bands from Skagit Flats, Washington. Elaine Boemer reported the first spring arrival as a flock of 7 on 21 April 1987. Recorded on the 16 December 2001 Christmas count—a flock of 25.
Canada Goose. Branta canadensis. Common migrant and resident. Based only on collected, carefully identified specimens, (cf. Delacour 1951 and Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) the race B. c. fulva nests locally and remains throughout the year (Willett 1914); B. c. minima migrates through in numbers (Webster 1941). Probably other subspecies, also, occur as migrants. The species was recorded on 19 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Green-winged Teal. Anas crecca carolinensis. Common migrant; also a sparse resident. Winter attributions were by Merrill “less plentiful” (Willett 1914); a few seen on 12 of the 28 Christmas counts; a few at Hoonah in February 1982,1983, and 1984 (Trapp and King 1985); six 5 December 1999 through February 2000 by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 200). I saw a few in the summer of 1940 and Merrill reported to Willett that a few bred around fresh water lakes. C. Johnstone (Gibson 1977), reported seeing the Old World subspecies, A c. crecca—two 28 November 1976.
*Blue-winged Teal. Anas discors. Scarce migrant. Hanson and I saw three near Goddard 24 May 1985. Daniel Timm saw a male in Hoonah Sound 25 May 1976; Johnson saw several in late September 1976, including four shot by a hunter (Kessel and Gibson MS). Wade and Tedin saw one 26 April 2003 (Tobish 2003). There was one June record on the Sitka Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-97.
*Cinnamon Teal. Anas cyanoptera. Kessel and Gibson (MS) state that Johnson saw a male at Starrigavan Creek 29 September 1976. Ward and Tedin saw two 27 June 1998 (Tobish 1998).
Mallard. Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos. Sparse nesting species; common migrant and winter visitant. Hanson saw a ‘young’ bird not yet able to fly 24 August 1986 at Goddard. Andres, et al (1999) saw a brood of small young on Silver Bay 27 June 1997.
Northern Pintail. Anas acuta. Common migrant, mainly in May, August and September; sparse in winter and summer. Gibson (1976a) saw four juveniles at Kadashan Bay 8 July 1975; there were two June observations on the Sitka Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-97. Reported on 13 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Northern Shoveller. Anas clypeata. Scarce resident and sparse migrant. Willett (1914) reported that Merrill saw two specimens that had been shot in the fall of 1904. C. Johnstone saw a pair 4 March 1974 (Kessel and Gibson 1978). Gibson in 1982 saw four on 27 April, three on 1 May, and one at Shelikof Bay 3 and 4 May. Hanson has seen a few in recent summers and a number in autumns; he killed one in September 1982. In 1985 there were 7 on Swan Lake 13 May which Hanson saw, and five drakes were still there for me to see on 23 May. In 1986 Hanson and I saw a female 9 August and he saw three 9 September and two on 12 May. In 1997 Ward and Tedin saw one 14 January (Tobish 1997). Recorded on two of the 28 Christmas counts.
Gadwall. Anas strepera. Rare migrant and winter visitant. Merrill took one at Lisianski Bay 22 September 1911 (Willett 1914). I saw two at Port Krestof 1 May 1940 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). C. Johnstone saw one 15 February 1970 (Kessel and Gibson 1978). Gibson saw two on 7 to 9 May 1982. I saw two on 16 August 1986. Recorded on 8 of the 28 Christmas counts.
t*Eurasian Wigeon. Anas penelope. Rare migrant and winter visitant. David Van Horn (Gibson 1979) saw five 23 through 29 October 1978. Isleib (Gibson 1980) and others saw several pairs in February 1980. Hanson saw and photographed one 12 May 1986 and saw another in the spring of 1988. Recorded on four of the 28 Christmas counts.
American Wigeon. Anas americana. Sparse migrant; scarce winter visitant. Two were seen 21 December 1974 (Leue 1975). Boehmer saw two on 26 February 1987. Extreme dates 4 August 1940 (Webster 1941) to 30 May 1985 by Hanson and me. Recorded on 15 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Canvasback. Aythya valisinaria Rare fall migrant and winter straggler; A. and C. Johnstone saw 7 at Sitka 5 to 10 November 1974 (Gibson 1976). Hanson saw a few each fall in the 1980’s. Kessel and Gibson (MS) state that Johnson saw two at Starrigavan Creek 29 September 1976 and shot one at Dry Pass, Kruzof Island, in October of that year. Recorded on three of the 28 Christmas counts.
**Redhead. Aythya americana. Scarce migrant and winter visitant. Extreme dates 9 November 1997 by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1998) to “spring” 1977 by Donald McKnight (Gibson 1977). One or two birds remained throughout the winter in 1996-7,1998-9, and 2001-2 as observed by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1997,1999,2002). Recorded on 9 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Ring-necked Duck. Aythya collaris. Scarce resident, but there are no confirmed breeding records. Wosnessensky collected one at Sitka 11 June 1842 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Recorded on 9 of the 28 Christmas counts. Also, C. Johnstone saw one 6 to 8 May 1975 (Gibson 1975) and a pair 4 April 1985. There were several June observations on the Sitka Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-97.
Greater Scaup. Aythya marila nearctica. Common winter visitant and migrant; scarce in summer; one breeding record. In 1940, and again in 1985,1 saw the species as late as 4 June. Grinnell (1898) reported a juvenile taken 15 July 1896. Gibson saw a flock of 7 on 30 June 1975, and there were a few June records on the Sitka Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-97.
*Lesser Scaup. Aythya affinis. A scarce winter visitant and migrant. The only sight records assigned to this species are a few on 8 of the 28 Christmas count reports; one which I saw in Sitka Bay 17 April 1940; a male which Hanson and I saw almost daily 26 August-9 September 1986; a male which Gibson saw 30 April 1982.
**Steller’s Eider. Polysticta stelleri. Rare winter visitant. C.Johnstone and others saw a male 9 April 1978. A female was seen by J. S. Hawkings 24 December 1982 (Gibson 1983). In 1984, on the north coast of Chichagof Island, S. L. Trapp and Philip Schempf saw a male at Spasski Bay 23 February; on each of the next two days James King and K. S. Ballinger saw two at Neck Point (Gibson 1984). Trapp and King (1985) reported the last three sightings again with the date of the Spasski Bay observation given as 22 February, In the week of the 1 January 1989 Christmas count one was reported. D. W. Sonneborn saw one offshore near Sitka 6 November 1988 (Tobish and Isleib 1989).
Harlequin. Histrionicus histrionicus. Common resident. Nests along fast-running streams; records of downy young are from Starrigavan and Medvetcha [now called Sawmill Creek] Rivers.
*Old-Squaw. Clangula hyemalis. Common winter visitant; dates from early November (Willett 1914) to 24 May, when Hanson and I saw a flock in 1985. The J. and J. W. Mailliard catalog lists a specimen collected at Sitka in July 1896, but I found that it was a Harlequin, misidentified (CAS).
**Black Scoter. Melanitta nigra. Common migrant and winter visitant; scarce summer non- breeder. Extreme dates are both from my field notebook of 1940—10 August to 22 May—except for my 1985 records: two on 1 June, ten on 28 June, and two off Fred’s Creek 29 June.
Surf Scoter. Melanitta perspicillata. Common in summer; abundant migrant and winter visitant. According to Dall and Bannister (1869) Bischoff collected the eggs of this bird. No subsequent worker has noted any evidence of nesting anywhere in southeastern Alaska, however.
White-winged Scoter. Melanitta fusca deglandi. Common in summer; abundant migrant and winter visitant; does not breed.
*Common Goldeneye. Bucephala clangula. Common winter visitant; probably a scarce resident. There are nesting records from Swan Lake and Chichagof Island, but to which of the two goldeneye species these apply remains uncertain. Swanson, Hanson and I saw five goldeneyes (a male with four females) in Nakwasina Sound 12 June 1984, but, again, were not able to distinguish the species. Gibson (1976a) reported two females at Sashin Lake 4 July 1975.
Barrow’s Goldeneye. Bucephala islandica. Abundant winter visitant (Christmas counts and Trapp and King 1985). Seen from October (Willett 1914) to 17 May, 1940 (Webster 1941), but also Sowls et al (1982) reported several on Kruzof Island 24 June 1981.
Bufflehead. Bucephala albeola. Common winter visitant. Seen from October (Willett 1914) to 2 May 1940, when I saw one.
Hooded Merganser. Lophodytes cucullatus. Sparse resident beginning 1975. Most records are from the fall, but on 24 of the 27 Christmas counts since 1975, a few have been seen (Gibson 1976 and Kessel and Gibson 1978). At Hoonah, Trapp and King (1985) saw several 19 and 20 February 1982. In summer, Hanson saw a female with a group of immatures in August 1984 near Goddard and collected an immature not yet able to fly 1 September. In 1986 Hanson and I saw a female and one or more immatures almost daily 15 August to 5 September.
Common Merganser. Mergus merganser americanus. Abundant winter visitant and migrant; sparse in summer. Broods of young were reported by Grinnell (1909) from Red Bluff Bay; by Gibson (1976a) from Kadashan Bay 7 July 1975; by Swanson, Hanson, and me in Nakwasina Pass 12 June 1984; by me and others at Indian River 1 to 27 June 1985; by the Johnstones in Jamestown Bay 8 to 14 June 1984; by Sowls et al (1982) two broods on Kruzof Island 24 June 1981. The Mailliards (CAS specimens) collected two downy young at “Bear Creek Sitka Bay” 5 July 1896.
Red-breasted Merganser. Mergus serrator. Sparse resident Willett (1914) noted broods of young in Silver Bay and Tenakee Inlet. Recorded on 25 of the 28 Christmas counts.
**Ruddy Duck. Oxyura jamaicensis. Ward and Tedin saw one 20 through 24 December 1997.
Osprey. Pandion haliaetus carolinensis. Formerly a scarce summer visitant; rarely reported in recent years. Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869) took specimens and eggs Bean (1882) took a specimen at Goddard; Grinnell collected two in 1896 (MVZ specimens examined); Merrill reported (Willett 1914) that a pair formerly nested in Silver Bay. The Johnstones saw one at Goddard 11 to 18 June 1982 and one there in the summer of 1983.
Bald Eagle. Haliaeetus leucocephalus alascanus. Common resident. Many nests recorded.
*Golden Eagle. Aquila chrysaetos. Gibson saw one near Shelikof Bay, Kruzof Island, 3 May 1982. Ward and Tedin saw one 2 January 2004 (Tobish 2004).
Northern Harrier. Circus cyaneus hudsonius. Rare migrant. Willett (1914) records a specimen from Tenakee taken 3 September 1913. Hanson saw one near Goddard the last week of April 1985. C. Johnstone saw one at Goose Cove, Peril Strait, 24 September 1972 and two in Fish Bay 31 August 1984.
Sharp-shinned Hawk. Accipiter striatus perobscurus. Scarce resident and spring migrant; sparse fall migrant. Recorded on 14 of the 28 Christmas counts. For subspecific identification see Webster 1988.
Northern Goshawk. Accipiter gentilis. Scarce resident; sparse fall migrant. No breeding records. Recorded on 3 of the 28 Christmas counts. Specimens, all taken in the fall, represent both the races A. g. liangi and A. g. atricapillus (Webster 1988).
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis alascensis. Sparse migrant and summer visitant; rare in winter. Usually hunts over open lands, such as recent clearcuts (Sidle and Kogut 1985). Recorded on 7 of the 28 Christmas counts; also, Ward and Tedin reported one on 1 February 2004 (Tobish 2004).
Rough-legged Hawk. Buteo lagopus s. -johannnis. Sparse migrant and rare winter visitant. Collected by Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869). I saw one to four birds each of these days near Sitka: 8 April, 7 May, 2 June 1940; 8 June 1984. (See Webster 1941; the 26 July date was an error.) In 1998 seven were recorded on the Christmas count, 27 December, and Ward and Tedin saw one or more beginning 7 December (Tobish 1999). In 2003 Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2003) saw one on 13 January.
*American Kestrel. Falco sparverius. Rare winter visitant. One was seen in the week of the 30 December 1984 Christmas count. Ward and Tedin reported that one remained most of the winter 1988-9, from 1 December to 4 February (Tobish 1999).
Merlin. Falco columbarius suckleyi. Scarce summer visitant and migrant; records from 2 May 1940, when I saw one just south of Hayward Strait to first week of October 1984 near Goddard by Hanson. Van Horn reported an “active nest” 16 June 1974 at Whitestone Harbor, Chichagof Island (Kessel and Gibson, MS). Although the only recorded specimen is F. c. suckleyi (Nelson 1887—specimen taken by Bischoff), other races are probably represented among the migrants.
Peregrine Falcon. Falco peregrinus. Sparse summer visitant and migrant; also one winter record. Definite nesting records from Rodgers Island (Sowls et al 1982) in 1981 and “Sitka” (imprecise locality) in 1849 (Ritchie 1981). Summer records suggesting breeding, but without observation of nests, are from St. Lazaria Island (1939, my field notes; 1984 and 1985, Hanson and other observers), Red Bluff Bay (in 1907, Grinnell 1909), several points on outer coast (in 1981, Sowls et al 1982). Extreme dates are 8 April 1940 (I saw one) to 1 October 1913 by Willett (1914). One was seen in the week of the 27 December 1998 Christmas count. There has been some confusion about the subspecific identity of Sitka specimens. Ritchie (1981) made a supposedly complete list of Alaska specimens which included 6 from the Sitka vicinity- Of these, one was a nestling, difficult to identify; one was taken by Bischoff 1 July 1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869); specimen identification by museum curator as anatum) and four were taken by Willett (1914). The last were identified by Willett as anatum, but aspealei by recent curators at the U. S. Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum. Ritchie omitted the cotype of F. p. pealei, which according to Deignan (1961) was taken in May 1866 at Sitka by Bischoff. The July Bischoff specimen should, of course, be re-identified.
Ring-necked Pheasant. Phasianus colchicus. Introduced at Sitka in 1932; persisted until at least 1941 (Jewett 1942). I saw young in July 1940 (Webster 1941).
Blue Grouse. Dendragapus obscurus sitkensis. Sparse resident. I saw a brood of downy chicks near Blue Lake 3 July 1938.
Willow Ptarmigan. Lagopus lagopus alexandrae. Irregular in numbers; resident at and above timberline, except that sometimes in winter it descends to near sea level on muskegs. Recorded on the 16 December 1990 Christmas count. Specimens have been taken on Chichagof, Kruzof, and Baranof Islands (Grinnell 1909; Willett 1914; my specimen CU). A downy young was collected 29 June 1897 by M. A. Brace; I examined it at CAS.
Rock Ptarmigan. Lagopus mutus dixoni. Irregular in numbers; resident above timberline, except that sometimes in winter it descends to near sea level on muskegs. Specimens have been taken on Chichagof, Kruzof, and Baranof Islands (Grinnell 1909; Willett 1914).
(The sight record of White-tailed Ptarmigan 16 December 1978 [Johnston 1979; Christmas count] is too unlikely to be accepted without a photograph or specimen.)
*Sandhill Crane. Grus canadensis. A regular migrant in small numbers (Willett 1914). Possibly a rare breeder; Ward (Tobish 1990) noted a pair defending territory on a Kruzof Island muskeg 11 to 23 June 1990. In 2002 two stayed at Sitka through 16 December (Ward and Tedin); in 1993 one lingered until 19 December (Christmas count).
Sora. Porzana carolina. Rare migrant. One was shot by a hunter 6 November 1984 in Nakwasina Sound (Gibson 1985; reported by D. L. Magnus, but who examined the bird I don’t know). R. Nelson and others saw one on Kruzof Island 29 December 2002 (Tobish 2003).
American Coot. Fulica americana americana. Sparse migrant and winter visitant; one summer record without breeding evidence. Willett (1914) recorded a specimen taken in September 1908, and mentioned other fall records. Recorded on 14 of the 28 Christmas counts. In 1990 one stayed from June to August (Ward and Hanson, Tobish 1990).
Black-bellied Plover, Pluvialis squatarola. Sparse migrant. Dates from 22 and 23 April 1840’s by Wosnessensky and 23 April 1987 by Boehmer to 8 June 1880 by Bean (1882) and 16 August to 5 September, 1912 and 1913 by Willett (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). In 1992 one lingered until 16 December (Ward in Tobish 1993 and Christmas count).
American Golden Plover. Pluvialis dominica. Scarce migrant. Specimens identified as of this species were reported by Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959) from Hoonah Sound, 16 and 17 May 1920 (taken by Bailey and identified by him as P.fulvd) and Baranof Island 18 September, year not specified. Also, the specimen taken by Hindshaw (Grinnell 1898) 16 August 1896 at Sitka is in MVZ, where I studied it. It is P. dominica.
Pacific Golden Plover. Pluvialis fulva. Scarce migrant. A specimen taken at Sitka 17 September, year not specified, was reported by Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959).
The two species of golden plovers are not safely distinguished in the field. Sight records dates from 25 April 1985 (Hanson saw a few in Port Krestof) to 21 May 1908 (Merrill, reported by Willett 1914) and 16 August 1896 (Hindshaw, reported by Grinnell 1898) to 18 September 1913 east of Lucky Chance Mountain by Merrill and Willett (Willett 1914).
Semipalmated Plover. Charadrius semipalmatus. Common migrant. Record dates are from 1 May 1940 (I saw several at Port Krestof) to 30 May 1985 (Hanson and I saw 20 at Port Krestof) and 24 July 1896 (specimen taken by Hindshaw, UW) to the end of September 1913 by Willett (1914).
*Killdeer. Charadrius vociferus. Scarce migrant and rare winter visitant The only winter record was by Krause, two 27 December 1981 (Gibson 1982 and Hanson 1982). The only spring records were one I saw 11 April 1940 (Webster 1941) and one Hanson saw 18 May 1985. Also in 1940 I saw two on 29 and 30 August; in 1937 I saw one 15 August.
Black Oyster-catcher. Haematopus bachmani. Common resident along the outer coast. Nests on surf-beaten rocks; often feeds, especially in winter, in sheltered bays. I studied it in Sitka Sound, and recorded many nests (Webster 1941c). Recorded on 8 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Greater Yellowlegs. Tringa melanoleuca. Sparse migrant and scarce summer visitant; probably breeds. Taken by Kittlitz (1858) in 1827, Bischoff in 1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869) and Bailey (1927). Extreme dates are one which Hanson saw near Goddard 26 March 1985 and one which Hanson and I saw there 1 September 1986; also Hanson saw 3 later in September 1986 at Nakwasina. A single bird which acted territorial was seen by Hanson and me 14 June 1984 near Goddard; at the same place Hanson had seen a pair each of several preceding summers. Gordon saw it nesting on muskegs 2-7 July 1969 on the west coast of Chichagof Island. Gibson (1976a) saw defensive adults at Kadashan Bay 7 to 9 July 1975. There were several June observations on the two Chichagof Island Breeding Bird Survey routes, 1993-98.
Lesser Yellowlegs. Tringa flavipes. Sparse migrant. Kittlitz (1858), Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1868) and I collected specimens. Extreme dates are 7 May 1920 in Hoonah Sound by Bailey (1927) to 30 May 1985 (I saw three in Port Krestof), and 24 July 1912 by Willett, 12 on Biorka Island (1914) to four on 4 September 1986 at Goddard by Hanson and me.
*Solitary Sandpiper. Tringa solitaria. Rare migrant. These are the only records: Bailey (1927) saw one in Hoonah Sound 10 May 1920. Hanson and I saw two in Aleutkina Bay 25 August 1986.
Wandering Tattler. Heteroscelus incanus. Sparse migrant. The only dated reports are: In Sitka Sound in 1940 I saw the species 6 to 15 May and 12 July to 4 September. Hanson saw one in Port Krestof 2 May 1985. Sowls et al (1982) reported one seen at Trubitsin Cove, Kruzof Island, 7 June 1981. S. O. MacDonald saw one 8 September 1972 (Kessel and Gibson MS).
Spotted Sandpiper. Actitis macularia. Common migrant and summer visitant. Grinnell (1909) reported a downy chick taken in Port Frederick 27 July 1907. Dates of record are 5 May 1985 by Hanson in Port Krestof to 30 August, from my own 1940 field notes.
Whimbrel. Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus. Sparse migrant; rare summer straggler. Spring dates are from 30 April 1940 when I saw six in Port Krestof to 28 May 1985 when I saw one. The only published fall records are by Willett (1914) who saw it several times in 1912 and 1913, including 7 on 27 August 1913 on Kruzof Island. Hanson has seen it several times in the fall. Sowls et al (1982) saw one off Rachek Island 6 June 1981 and four on the Slate Islets 29 June 1981. Wertheimer saw one at Little Port Walter 9 and 10 June 1976 (Kessel and Gibson MS).
*Hudsonian Godwit. Limosa haemastica. Rare straggler. Ward and Tedin(Tobish 1999) saw one from 7 to 11 May 1999.
**Marbled Godwit. Limosa fedoa. Rare migrant. Sarah Watson saw one 13 May 1980 and two in Port Krestof 9 May 1980 (Kessel and Gibson MS). Hanson saw a godwit 7 May 1985 in Port Krestof but was uncertain as to the species. Ward (Tobish 1990) saw three on 1 May 1990. Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1997 and 2001) saw one on 11 October 1996 and six from 29 April to 8 May 2001. Gibson and Tobish saw five on 22 July 1975 at the entrance to Chatham Strait (Gibson and Kessel 1989).
Ruddy Turnstone. Arenaria interpres interpres. Scarce migrant; rare winter straggler. There are only these records: Three on 4 May 1974 by Leue (Kessel and Gibson MS); 6 May 1985 in Port Krestof by Hanson; 10 on 8 May 1978 by F. A. Glass (Kessel and Gibson MS); 16 and 17 May 1920 in Hoonah Sound (Bailey, 1927); 10 August 1940 (by myself, Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) on Passage Island; 12 August 1912 on Kruzof Island (Willett 1914); 20 August 1986 three in Port Krestof (myself); flock 18 January 1971 (Kury 1972).
Black Turnstone. Arenaria melanacephala. Common migrant and winter visitant. In 1940 I did not see it between 10 May and 12 July, whereas Willett (1914) noted it “occasionally during the summer months” in 1912 and 1913. (However, Willett did not begin work until 14 July in 1912 and 20 July in 1913.) Abbott (1915) recorded a set of eggs collected on Chichagof Island 27 June 1885; Gordon saw one pair on the west coast of Chichagof Island “probably nesting” 2 to 7 July 1969 (Kessel and Gibson MS). Handel (in lit) doubts the validity of these nesting records. Bailey (1927) recorded one seen in Hoonah Sound 14 May 1920.
Surfbird. Aphriza virgata. Sparse resident, but does not breed. Mostly, but not exclusively, found on surf-beaten rocks. Recorded on 17 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Red Knot. Calidris canutus. Rare migrant. Bischoff collected it at Sitka (Dall and Bannister 1869). I saw a flock of eight in Port Krestof 30 April 1940 (Webster 1941). Leue (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw 12 on 4 May 1974. Subspecies undetermined.
Sanderling. Calidris alba. Rare migrant and winter visitant. Bischoff collected two (Dall and Bannister 1869); Willett (1914) saw one on Kruzof Island 26 August 1913; I saw two 24 August 1940. In the winter of 1974-75 the Christmas count partly recorded two on 21 December and on 5 January Michael Spindler saw five (Kessel and Gibson 1978).
Semipalmated Sandpiper. Calidris pusilla. The species was listed by Dall and Bannister (1869) as taken by Bischoff. However, the specimens have apparently not been rechecked of recent years, as they should be. In 1940 I listed sight records from Mud Bay, Kruzof Island, 30 April, and at Mielskoi Cove 4 September; however, sight records are of doubtful validity for this species because of possible confusion with the next species.
Western Sandpiper. Calidris mauri. Abundant migrant; scarce winter visitant and summer straggler. Winter records are: three on 8 March 1940 (Webster 1941); a few on each of three of the 28 Christmas counts. Otherwise, dates are from 25 April 1940 (Webster 1941) to 30 May 1985 in Port Krestof (by Hanson and me) and 2 July 1940 (I saw a flock) to 3 October 1913 (Willett 1914). Gibson (1976a) in 1975 saw several on Baranof Island 30 June to 7 July and Kadashan Bay 7 to 9 July.
Least Sandpiper. Calidris minutila. Abundant migrant. Dates from 25 April 1940 when I saw a flock to 8 June 1866 by Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869) and 2 July 1896 on St Lazaria Island by Grinnell (1898) to 30 September 1913 on St Lazaria by Willett (1914).
**White-rumped Sandpiper. Apparently a rare migrant. I saw two on the Indian River flats 27 April 1940.
Baird’s Sandpiper. Calidris bairdii. Scarce migrant. Bischoff collected one (Dall and Bannister 1869). Bailey (1927) collected one 17 May 1920 in Hoonah Sound. I saw a few 1 and 2 May 1940 in Port Krestof; several 20 July 1938; and one in August 1937. Grinnell (1897) stated that Hindshaw collected one, but it is not in the University of Washington collection or MVZ.
Pectoral Sandpiper. Calidris melanotos. Sparse migrant Recorded from 30 April 1940 (I saw four in Whitestone Narrows) to 24 May 1985 (I saw 17 at Starrigavan River) and 20 August 1986 (I saw one in Port Krestof) to 10 September 1913 (plentiful in Hoonah Sound, Willett 1914).
Rock Sandpiper. Calidris ptilocnemis. Common winter visitant and migrant. In 1940 I saw it (Webster 1941) as late as 10 May and as early as 24 July. Both the races C. p. tschuktschorum and C. p. ptilocnemis have been collected (Webster 1941; Conover 1944). It has been recorded on 11 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Dunlin. Calidris alpina Common spring but sparse fall migrant; scarce winter visitant Winter records are: three on 8 March 1940 (Webster 1941); 3 on 5 January 1975 by M. Spindler (Kessel and Gibson MS); six on the 16 December 1978 Christmas count; several near Hoonah 19 and 20 February 1982 and 17 to 20 February 1984 (Trapp and King 1985). Otherwise, dates are 23 April 1987 (large flock seen by Boehmer) to 4 June 1842 (specimen collected by Wosnessensky, recorded by Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) and 24 July 1940 (flock of six near Mielskoi Cove, Webster 1941) to 31 July 1912 (one near Kruzof Island, Willett 1914)). Subspecies has not been determined since recent revisions.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Tryngites subruficollis. Rare migrant. Bischoff collected one at Sitka 15 August 1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869). Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2003) saw one 25 August 2002.
Short-billed Dowitcher. Limnodromus griseus caurinus. Pitelka (1950) identified the specimen taken by Willett (1914) on Kruzof Island 27 August 1913, and those taken by Bailey (1927) in Hoonah Sound in May 1920 as this form.
This and the following species are not safely distinguishable from one another in the field; together they constitute a sparse migrant form with dates from 1 May 1940 (I saw a flock in Krestof Sound) and 1 May 1985 (Hanson saw a flock in Port Krestof) to 30 May 1985 (Hanson and I saw three in Port Krestof) and 4 August 1940 (I saw a flock) to 27 August 1913 (Willett 1914).
Long-billed Dowitcher. Limndromus scolopaceus. Pitelka (1950) identified a Sitka specimen as of this species, but did not record the date.
t**Ruff. Philomachus pugnax. Rare migrant Ward and T. Jacobsen saw one from 1 to 8 May 1990 (Gibson 1990).
Common Snipe. Gallinago gallinago delicata. Scarce migrant and winter visitant. Dates from 13 September 1913 (Willett 1914) to 11 May 1940 at Mielskoi Cove, when I saw two. Recorded on 15 of the 28 Christmas counts. Also, there was one June record from Hoonah, 1993-98, on the Breeding Bird Survey.
Red-necked Phalarope. Phalaropus lobatus. Abundant fall migrant; rare spring migrant and winter straggler. In 1940 I saw it from 24 June at Sitka to 10 September in Chatham Strait; these are extreme dates, but the great numbers are seen in late July and August (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). The only winter record was a single bird on 27 December 1981 on the Christmas count. The only spring record was one seen 8 May 1978 by Glass (Kessel and Gibson MS).
*Red Phalarope. Phalaropus fulicarius. These are the only definite records: in Chatham Strait, Willett (1914) saw three on 9 September 1913 and I saw three on 10 September 1940. In Hayward Strait Hanson and I saw two on 29 August 1986. Probably a common migrant offshore.
**Pomarine Jaeger. Stercorarius pomarinus. Scarce summer straggler and fall migrant. Bailey (1927) reported one seen off Point Adolphus 8 August 1920. Gabrielson (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) saw one at Lemesurier Island, 23 July 1945. Gordon saw several jaegers, species uncertain, off Chichagof Island 2 to 7 July 1969. I saw two near Vitzkari Rock 27 June 1985. Hanson saw two off Biorka Island 23 August 1985. In 1986, near Vitzkari Rock, Hanson and I saw two 18 August, one 20 August, and one 29 August amongst other jaegers, several of which weren’t identified specifically.
*Parasitic Jaeger. Stercorarius parasiticus. Sparse fall migrant. Seen from 1 August 1982 (one near Cape Dearborn, Chichagof Island, by Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983) and 24 August 1913 (two near St. Lazaria Island by Willett 1914) to 13 September 1981 (Johnstone saw three near Middle Island). In 1986, near Vitzkari Rock, Hanson and I identified one of this species each day, 18,20 and 29 August
Long-tailed Jaeger. Stercorarius longicaudus. Scarce fall migrant. Johnstone saw one off Vitzkari Rock 6 August 1981. Hanson saw several off Biorka Island 24 August 1985. In 1986 I collected an adult female 15 August in Port Krestof (Webster 1988), and Hanson and I identified another near Vitzkari Rock 29 August
Bonaparte’s Gull. Larus Philadelphia. Fall migrant and summer non-breeder. Sparse on the west side of Chichagof and Baranof Islands; common on the east or Chatham Strait side and in Icy Strait. Dates from 1 July 1940 (I saw one adult) to 60 on 3 November 1973 in Neva Strait by Gibson. Also Sowls et al (1982) saw 2000 off PL Adolphus 10 June 1981 and Gordon saw it “fairly commonly” on the west coast of Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969.
Franklin’s Gull. Larus pipixcan. Only one record—Ward and Tedin reported one 29 October 1988 as “probable,” but also “specimen collected” (Tobish 1999).
Mew Gull. Larus canus brachyrhynchus. Common resident. No breeding records, and almost all of those seen in June and July were in immature plumage.
Heerman’s Gull. Larus heermani. Rare fall straggler. On 15 and 16 September 1996 [D. W. Sonneborn,] T. J. Doyle and P. J. Walsh saw two juveniles and collected one (Tobish 1997; Gibson and Kessel 1997). Ward and Tedin saw two on 22 though 31 August 1999.
*Ring-billed Gull. Larus delawarensis. Rare straggler. Single bids were seen on Christmas counts, 27 December 1981 and 19 December 1999.
*California Gull. Larus californicus. Rare straggler. There are these five records: Johnstone saw two 19 October 1975 in Crawfish Inlet (Gibson 1976 and Kessel and Gibson 1978); Schwann saw one late January 1987 (Gibson 1987); Tobish saw three in Salisbury Sound 7 June 1997; S. Johnston saw a subadult 3 June 1988 (Gibson 1988); one was seen by Ward and Tedin 27 December 1998 on the Christmas count.
*Western Gull. Larus occidentalis. Only one record—Isleib saw one 8 September 1992 (Tobish 1993).
Herring Gull. Larus argentatus smithsonianus. Sparse summer visitant and migrant; common winter visitant according to the Christmas counts. No breeding records, although some of the summer birds are in adult plumage.
Thayer’s Gull. Larus glaucoides thayeri. Sparse winter visitant, recorded on 20 of the 28 Christmas counts. In 1940, I did not identify even one Herring Gull until mid-April, although Thayer’s Gull was common (one collected 28 March, Webster 1941) before that and through April.
Glaucous-winged Gull. Larus glaucescens. Abundant resident. Sowls et al (1982) reported 19 nesting colonies in 1981 on various outer islands, with the largest (900 nests) on Hazy Islands. Additional nesting places reported are Passage Island (I found three nests in 1940), small islands off Biorka (Willett 1914), and George Island (Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983).
Glaucous Gull. Larus hyperboreus. Scarce winter visitant and migrant. There are only these records: Two taken 27 March 1844 by Wosnessensky (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959); one taken 3 November 1908 by Merrill (Willett 1914); one or a few seen on 12 of the 28 Christmas counts. C. Johnstone saw one 7 January 1977. I saw two immatures 23 May 1985. Trapp and King (1985) saw one or a few 19 and 20 February 1982 near Hoonah. I saw one 2 March 2000. Ward and Tedin saw 50 from 16 to 31 May 1999 (Tobish 1999). Subspecies has not been determined.
Black-legged Kittiwake. Rissa tridactyla pollicaris. Common resident, mostly on offshore waters, and nesting on some outer islands. Sanger (1972) listed it as common offshore 1 February to 8 March 1967; reported on two of the 28 Christmas counts. In Sitka Sound and south along the outer coast to Cape Ommaney, there are a few in spring and summer, mostly immatures (my field notes; Sowls et al 1982, Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983). North of Sitka Sound, Sowls et al in 1981 found nesting colonies on Sealion Islands, Yakobi Rock, Althrop Rock, and Inian Islet Nelson and Lehnhausen in 1982 found the last-named three colonies active.
**Ivory Gull. Pagophila eburnea. Kessel and Gibson (1979) reported that Wertheimer saw an adult at Little Port Walter in November 1975.
Sabine’s Gull. Xema sabini. Rare migrant; perhaps common offshore. Willett (1914) saw three of which he collected two on Sitka Bay 3 August 1913. C. Johnstone saw one near St. Lazaria Island 5 August 1981. I saw four (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) near Passage Island 5 September 1940. Gabrielson saw the species off Cape Spencer 8 June 1946 and 30 July 1943 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Wik (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw one in Olga Strait 9 October 1967.
**Caspian Tern. Sterna caspia. Rare migrant Sowls and Nelson (Gibson 1981; Sowls et al 1982; Gibson and Kessel 1992) saw two in Redoubt Bay 7 July 1981. Hanson saw two in Port Krestof 5 May 1985 and one at Sitka in June 1989 (Tobish 1989). Ward and Tedin saw one 9 and 10 September 2001 (Tobish 2002).
*Arctic Tern. Sterna paradisaea. Scarce migrant. Willett (1914) vaguely noted “Seen on two or three occasions on Sitka Sound (14 July to 2 September) 1912.” I saw four in Krestof Sound 30 April 1940. C. Johnstone saw two in Fish Bay 1 September 1984. Ward (Tobish 1993) reported 100 seen 21 to 23 April 1993.
Common Murre. Uria aalge inornata. Common resident. Large nesting colonies are found on the cliffs of St Lazaria (Willett 1912, 1914; Nelson et al 1982). Nelson et al estimated 1450 nesting pairs on St Lazaria.
**Thick-billed Murre. Uria lomvia. Sparse resident. Sowls et al (1982; also Gibson 1981; Nelson et al 1987) stated that about 1100 pairs were nesting on the cliffs of St. Lazaria Island with the preceding species, in June 1981 and July 1982. I estimated 300 pairs in June 1985. A few were seen on each of 11 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Pigeon Guillemot. Cepphus columba adianta. Common resident. Nests reported by Willett (1914) on St Lazaria and islands off Biorka; Sowls etal (1982) reported 17 nesting sites along the outer coast In 1940,1 found eggs or downy chicks on the Eckholms and some unnamed rocks off Mielkoi Cove. (For the use of the subsecific name adianta, see Storer, 1950; I have measured 8 specimens from Sitka and concur with Storer.)
Marbled Murrelet Brachyrhamphus marmoratus marmoratus. Abundant resident feeding mostly in sheltered and near shore exposed waters. A ground nest was reported on Chichagof Island above timberline by Mr. and Mrs. Stanton Warburton and Earl Osburn (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959); however, the parent was not collected and Drent and Guiguet (1961) concluded that the nest and egg probably belonged, rather, to a Kittlitz Murrelet. Carter and Sealy (2005) presented additional details clarifying that the Chicagof Island record was, indeed, that of a Marbled Murrelet Quinlan and Hughes (1990) reported a nest in a tree on Baranof Island in 1984. Agler, Kendall, and Irons (1998) measured both winter and summer populations by means of small boat counts. They counted many hundreds of birds in many localities.
Kittlitz’s Murrelet. Brachyrhamphus brevirostris. Scarce resident. These are the only records: Two seen 16 December 1978 on the Christmas count; Willett took one at Biorka Island 24 July 1912 (Willett 1914); I twice saw two on Sitka Sound in 1940- 4 April and 13 April. Kessel and Gibson (MS) list one seen at Little Port Walter 10 September 1959 by M. B. Troutman and another in Sitka Sound 14 July 1976 by B. F. King and others. With the absence of sea level glaciers, the species probably does not nest in the Sitka region. Agler, Kendall, and Irons lumped their data for the two species of Brachyramphus murrelets, but estimated that no more than 1% of them were brevirostris.
*Ancient Murrelet. Synthliboramphus antiquus. Sparse resident, mostly on exposed waters. Willett (1914) found eggs on St. Lazaria Island 2 August 1913. Sowls et al (1982) and Nelson et al (1987) described nesting colonies on St. Lazaria (about 750 pairs) and Sealion Islands (about 100 pairs). Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983) found a few nesting on Hazy Islands. I saw a few from 2 May to 10 September 1940, 9 to 14 June 1984, and 30 May to 29 June 1985. One was seen on the Christmas count 16 December 1978. Trapp and King (1985) recorded one near Hoonah in February 1983.
Cassin’s Auklet. Ptychorhamphus aleuticus. As observed, regularly seen in fall in lower Chatham Strait; by Bailey (1927) 9 and 24 October 1920; by Gabrielson 13 August 1940 and 11 August 1944 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959); by Me (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) 10 September 1940; by Gibson (1976a) 17 and 22 July 1975. Gabrielson (loc. cit.) saw a number in Salisbury Sound 12 August 1940 and some off Baranof Island 14 September 1941. In Sitka Sound, Gabrielson (loc. cit.) saw a few 21 August 1945; C. Johnstone saw many 5 August 1981 and two on 25 September 1981; R. A. Wood saw one on St. Lazaria Island 21 June 1983 (Nelson et al 1987); Hanson saw a few 23 and 24 August 1985; and the Christmas count group saw one 18 December 1977. Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1997) saw one 12 February 1997. Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983) found a number of adults with eggs and young and estimated 400 breeding pairs on Hazy Islands, 25 to 27 June 1982. Gordon saw a few off Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969, but there are no certain breeding records from north of Hazy Islands.
Parakeet Auklet. Cyclorrhynchus psittacula. Rare spring and summer visitant. Grinnell (1898) recorded a specimen taken by Frobese 8 June 1896 (the specimen label, MVZ, gives 8 June 1895). Willett (1914) recorded some questionable sight records of his own in 1912 and 1913. Kenyon saw two off Biorka Island 8 April 1950. Sowls et al (1982; Gibson 1981) reported two seen on Sealion Islands 25 June 1981 by J. L. Trapp and others.
**Crested Auklet. Aethia cristatella. Probably a rare straggler. Schlegel (1862) listed the species from Sitka, but Willett (1914) regarded the record as very doubtful in its geographic authenticity. I agree. However, I saw one on Sitka Bay 20 July 1939. Without a specimen of undoubted accuracy, my record should be regarded with suspicion.
Rhinoceros Auklet. Cerorhinca monocerata. Common along outer coast in summer; scarce in winter near Sitka; probably a common resident offshore. Nests on St. Lazaria Island (Willett 1912 and 1914; C. Johnstone 1 August 1982 watched USFWS collect a dozen; Sowls et al 1982; Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983; Nelson et al 1987). Nelson et al (1987) estimated 500 nesting pairs. Also on Sealion Islands Sowls et al (1982) estimated 50 breeding pairs. Gibson (1975) reported that the Johnstones saw one in Jamestown Bay from 1 November 1974 to mid-January 1975; on the Christmas counts there were that one and also 11 on 2 January 1977. C Johnstone saw a flock of 25 or more at Crawfish Inlet for four days in mid-October 1975.
Tufted Puffin. Fratercula cirrhata. Common resident, mostly offshore, nesting in colonies on several outer islands. The largest colony is on St. Lazaria with 5,500 pairs in 1981 (J. Grinnell and J. W. Mailliard 1896 MS; Grinnell 1898; Willett 1914; Sowls et al 1982; Nelson et al 1987). Sowls and his fellow workers in 1981 and 1982 located twelve additional nesting sites from Hazy Island north to George Island (Sowls et al 1982; Nelson and Lehnhausen 1983). One was seen on three of the 28 Christmas counts. Sanger (1972) listed it as common offshore 1 February to 8 March 1967 and 1 August to 19 September 1955.
Horned Puffin. Fratercula corniculata. Sparse resident, mostly offshore; nests on St Lazaria Island some years (Willett 1914) and other small outer islands. Sowls et al (1982) found six small colonies in 1981. One was reported on the Christmas count 16 December 1978. I saw six in Port Althorp 7 September 1939, five near Low Island, Sitka Sound, 13 June 1984, and one at St. Lazaria 27 June 1985. Sanger (1972) reported offshore sightings 1 February to 8 March 1967. Gibson (1976a) listed some July sightings. On 18,19 and 20 August 1986 Hanson and I saw one near Vitskari Rock.
Rock Dove. Columba livia. The feral pigeon is now resident in the town of Sitka. It appeared some time between 1940 and 1975.
Mourning Dove. Zenaidura macroura marginella. Migrant; rare in spring, and scarce in fall. The only spring record was by E. M. Goddard—he saw one in May and June (year unspecified; Gabriel son and Lincoln 1959). Frank Dufresne saw one in July 1938 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Extreme dates otherwise are 9 September 1940 (I saw one) to 29 November 2001 (Ward and Tedin saw one, Tobish 2002).
Western Screech Owl. Otus kennicottii kennicottii. Scarce resident. Collected by Bischoff (Elliot 1867) in 1866. Willett (1914) reported that Merrill had seen the species several times and found a dead one. I collected two immatures 1 August 1940. W. L. Foster (Gibson 1980) observed two during the winter of 1979-80. Gibson (in lit) in 1982 noted three and collected a pair, 28 April to 9 May. Ward (Tobish 1993) found an injured one 12 February 1993. Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2004) noted one 24 February 2004.
Great Horned Owl. Bubo virginianus saturatus. Scarce resident, chiefly in old growth forest (Sidle and Kogut 1985). Grinnell (1909) reported two seen by Stephens at Rodman Bay 15 August 1907, and probable sight of another at Hoonah 21 to 27 June 1907. Willett (1914) recorded a number of specimens taken by Merrill and three others taken 29 August 1912 and 25 September 1913. I vividly remember shooting one in our Sitka chicken house on a snowy night in January 1934. Brown (MCZ) collected two on 26 May 1915. On 19 June 1985 I saw one on St. Lazaria Island, which gave substance to the many petrel remains we had seen on the island 13 June 1984 and a pellet of petrel remains picked up by Gustav Swanson that day and identified by him as from this species. Recorded on three of the 28 Christmas counts.
I have also examined a specimen (CAS) collected 5 December 1896 which is a vagrant of the race B. v. lagophonus (Webster 1988).
Snowy Owl. Nyctea scandiaca. Scarce winter visitant. Nelson (1887) mentioned a specimen collected in the winter of 1881-82. Merrill (Willett 1914) collected specimens 2 and 17 November 1908, and Willett heard of others shot in winter. Willett (1921) recorded one taken by Fred Gray on Yakobi Island in the fall of 1915. I saw two in February 1933. Johnson (Kessel and Gibson MS) reported one collected 14 December 1973. Isleib (Gibson 1985) saw one sometime between 24 October and 30 November 1984. From 11 to 18 Decmber 1996 and on 1 January 1997 Ward and Tedin saw one (Tobish 1997). From 1 to 16 December 2000 Ward and Tedin saw one (Tobish 2001).
Hawk Owl. Surnia ulula caparoch. Rare migrant or winter visitant. Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869) took one in the winter of 1865-66. Hanson has seen several in the month of October, 1974-1984. Ward and Tedin saw one from 3 to 13 April 2001 (Tobish 2001).
Northern Pygmy Owl. Glaucidium gnoma. One was reported by the Christmas count on 16 Decmber 1978. A specimen (UA) was collected at Port Alexander in September 1984. Hanson has seen it several times in recent years, but not in summer. Ward saw one 1 December 1991 (Tobish 1992). Ward and Tobin (Tobish 2004) saw one 24 February 2004. While these records suggest a winter visitation, the species is supposed to be non- migratory (A.O.U. 1998).
Great Gray Owl. Strix nebulosa. Rare winter visitant. Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869) took one at Sitka in 1865-66. Dr. Harry J. Hodgins told me that he shot one 11 October 1933 at Saook Bay.
*Barred Owl. Strix varia. Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2004) reported one 9 February 2004.
Short-eared Owl. Asio flammeus flammeus. Rare fall migrant and winter visitant. Willett (1914) recorded specimens taken 27 November 1912 by Peterson at Fish Bay and one seen by Brightman at Swan Lake 30 September 1913. One was seen on the Christmas count 18 December 1977.
Boreal Owl. Aegolius funrus richardsoni. Rare winter visitant. Willett (1914) reported that Merrill collected one in the fall of 1907. The Christmas count recorded one 16 December 1978. One was reported from Port Alexander 31 December 1994 by Mertle (1995).
Northern Saw-whet Owl. Aegolius acadicus acadicus. Rare resident. Wosnessensky collected one 17 May 1845, according to Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959). One was found alive 27 December 1984 (reported on the Christmas count) and examined in hand by Hanson. I examined a frozen specimen which had been found dead in March or April 1985. One was reported at Tenakee the week of 27 December 1995 by Wisenbaugh (1996). One was recorded in June on Game Creek, Chichagof Island, on the Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-98.
*Common Nighthawk. Chordeiles minor. Kessel and Gibson (MS) state that D. J. Markley heard one 21 June 1986.
Vaux’s Swift. Chaetura vauxi vauxi. Apparently a rare fall straggler. Willett (1914) saw 20 at Patterson Bay, Baranof Island, 7 September 1913 and collected one. Also he saw one at Cascade Bay 9 September 1913.
**Anna’s Hummingbird. Calypte anna. R. B. Williams (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw one at Little Port Walter “in the late 1940’s.” A few birds were attracted to feeders in Sitka in 1974 and 1975, part of a range expansion to Alaska that began in 1967 (cf. Kessel and Gibson 1978). Specific records were: One male 2-15 March 1974 by the Johnstones (Kessel and Gibson 1978 and Gibson 1974); one to three birds during the winter 1974-75 (Kessel and Gibson 1978) and the Christmas count 21 December 1974. Again, one wintered in 1984-85 and was reported on the Christmas count 30 December and by Gibson (1985). One was recorded on the 20 December 1987 Christmas count.
**Calliope Hummingbird. Stellula calliope. Wertheimer (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw one at Little Port Walter 14 August 1975.
Rufous Hummingbird. Selasphorus rufus. Common migrant and summer visitant. Found both within and at the edges of forests (Andres et al 2004). Extreme dates are those I recorded in 1940—7 April to 27 August (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Out of season, Hanson states that one or two were seen all winter of 1983-84 at feeders, including the 1 January Christmas count. Grinnell (1898) found a nest 10 June 1896.
Belted Kingfisher. Ceryle alcyon. Sparse resident. Willett (1914) recorded a nest on Kruzof Island; in 1985 Hanson, C. Johnstone, and I found five active nest burrows. Several were recorded on 27 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Red-breasted Sapsucker. Sphyrapicus ruber ruber. Sparse summer visitant, with extreme dates from one which I saw 13 March 1940 to 13 September 1941 at Little Port Walter by Gabrielson (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Cotter and Andrews (2000) reported it as the most numerous woodpecker, occurring especially along forest edges. Also a rare resident, recorded on five of the 28 Christmas counts, and also on 22 January 1999 (Tobish 1999; no observer cited). Matt and Julie Stotts saw a nest with young 16-18 June 1998 at Tonalite Creek, Chicagof Island (Andres, in lit).
Downy Woodpecker. Picoides pubescens glacialis. Scarce resident The only records are: Bischoff collected one (Dall and Bannister 1869, no date recorded). Willett (1914) saw one on Kruzof Island 25 August 1913 and stated that Merrill had seen it a few times. Brown collected a male 2 June 1915 (MCZ, specimen now missing). I saw it twice in the summer of 1936 and once on Kruzof Island 5 May 1940. On Christmas counts, recorded on five of the 28 times. Gibson saw one near Shelikof Bay, Kruzof Island, 4 May 1982. On northern Chichagof Island Cotter and Andres (2000) reported many June records, 1992-1999.
Hairy Woodpecker. Picoides villosus sitkensis. Sparse resident. Found in all closed-canopy spruce-dominated forests (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Cotter and Andres 2000; Andres et al 2004).
Three-toed Woodpecker. Picoides tridactylus fasciatus. Sparse resident Most observations have been in summer, but Swarth (1911) listed a specimen, taken by Hasselborg, from Freshwater Bay 27 November 1909, and one was seen on the 16 December 1978 Christmas count. The Johnstones and others watched a pair feeding nestlings near Goddard 2 June 1983. At Tenakee, one was seen 20 December 1991 (Converse 1992) and two on 27 December 1998 (Wisenbaugh 1999).
*Black-backed Woodpecker. Picoides arcticus. Apparently a rare summer visitant The only records are from the Game Creek Breeding Bird Survey route, June 1993-98.
Northern Flicker. Colaptes auratus. The yellow-shafted subspecies, C. a. borealis, is a rare straggler; one was seen (not collected as stated by Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) by Merrill at Sitka 26 September 1913 (Willett 1914); one was seen on the 18 December 1977 Christmas count; and Timm (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw one in Hoonah Sound between 16 and 29 May 1973.
The red-shafted form, C. a. cafer, is a sparse resident recorded several times by Willett (1914) and on 20 of the 28 Christmas counts. I saw one in April of 1932 and noted the species three times in May and June 1985. In 1986, Hanson saw two at Goddard, both 1 and 4 September. Other winter records were by Ward and Tedin: December 1998 through February 1990; all winter to 2 February 1998-99; 29 January 2002 (Tobish 1990,1999,2002); all winter 2003-4 (Tobish 2004).
Olive-sided Flycatcher. Contopus cooperi. The only records are from northern Chichagof Island, mostly along clearcut edges, June, 1993-1998 (Cotter and Andres 2000, Breeding Bird Survey data).
*Western Wood Pewee. Contopus sordidulus. Apparently a rare summer visitant. The only record was by Gordon, who saw one at Sister Lake, Chichagof Island, 3 July 1969.
*Alder Flycatcher. Empidonax alnoum. Apparently a rare summer visitant. Most records are from Chichagof Island; Gibson and Tobish (Kessel and Gibson 1978; Gibson 1976a) saw two singing males 8 July 1975 at Kadashan Bay and Gordon saw a few on the west coast 2-7 July 1969. There was one June record on the Hoonah Breeding Bird Survey, 1993- 98. Margaret Dangel (in lit) saw one at Sitka 12 and 13 September 2004.
*Dusky Flycatcher. Empidonax oberholseri. Rare straggler. Ward and Tedin saw one 10 November 1997 (Tobish 1998).
*Hammond’s Flycatcher. Empidonax hammondi. Apparently a rare summer visitant The only record was by Gordon (Kessel and Gibson 1978) who saw one on the west coast of Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969.
Pacific-slope Flycatcher. Empidonax difficilis difficilis. Common summer visitant especially in older coniferous and riparian forest near water (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Andres et al 2004)). My own records provide the extreme dates, 29 April 1940 to 18 August 1940, but there is one winter record; one was seen in the week of the 22 December Christmas count.
*Western Kingbird. Tyrannus veticalis. Rare straggler. In 1991, Ward saw one 23 June (Tobish 1991). In 1992, Ward and Tedin saw one 21 and 22 September. There was one June observation on the Sitka Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-97.
*Say’s Phoebe. Sayornis saya. Rare straggler. Hanson saw one 16 December 1990 (Tobish 1991 and Christmas count).
Tree Swallow. Iridoprocne bicolor. Common summer visitant, especially over brushy clearcuts (Sidel and Kogut 1985). Extreme dates of record are 26 April 1940, when I saw the first swallow of the spring to 22 August 1912 by Willett (1914). Parents were feeding young in three nest-boxes 20 and 23 June 1985.
*Violet-green Swallow. Tachycineta thallasina. Rare migrant. I saw two at the Starrigavan River mouth 29 May 1985.
*Rough-winged Swallow. Stelgidopteryx ruficollis. Rare migrant. Hanson and I saw one near Goddard 24 May 1985.
Barn Swallow. Hirundo rustica erythogaster. Sparse to common (different years) summer visitant Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959) state that Willett found a nest with young 8 August 1912; I found a nest 22 June 1985. Extreme dates are 9 June 1984 when I saw one to 22 August 1912 by Willett (1914).
Steller’s Jay. Cyanocitta stelleri stelleri. Common resident; especially to be found along forest edges. Recorded on 25 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Clark’s Nutcracker. Nucifraga columbiana. Irregular straggler. Bischoff collected one in August 1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869; Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). I saw single birds several times during March and April 1933 (Webster 1941).
Black-billed Magpie. Pica pica hudsonia. Sparse fall migrant and winter visitant. Bischoff collected specimens in October of both 1865 and 1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869; Gabriel son and Lincoln 1959). Willett (1914) reported that Merrill had seen several in the fall near Sitka and on Chichagof Island and had collected two, 20 October 1908 and 28 October 1912. I saw one in October 1929. Trapp and King (1985) saw a few near Hoonah on these dates: 19 and 20 February 1982,24 to 28 February 1983,17 to 20 February 1984. One was seen all winter of 1989-90 by Ward and three all winter of 1996-97 to 30 March by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1990 and 1999).
Northwestern Crow. Corvus caurinus. Abundant resident along all salt-water beaches. Nests were reported by Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869) in 1866; from St Lazaria Island by Grinnell (1898) from St. Lazaria and Biorka Islands in 1912 or 1913 by Willett (1914); from Patterson Bay, Chichago Island, in 1920 by Bailey (1927). I watched a nest in 1934 and found two nests with young in 1940, and found one with three eggs 10 June 1985.
Northern Raven. Corvus corax principalis. Common resident from shore to above timberline. A specimen was taken by Hindshaw 17 August 1896 (UW). I saw a bob-tailed fledgling 19 June 1985.
*Black-capped Chickadee. Parus atricapillus. Scarce winter visitant. Reported on five of the 28 Christmas counts. Also, Leue (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw one on the east coast of Baranof Island in October 1974.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Parus rufescens rufescens. Common resident utilizing all kinds of low elevation forest (Sidel and Kogut 1985; Andres et al 2004). Boehmer saw fledglings being fed 26 June 1985 and Walter and Margaret Dangell watched a brood leave a nestbox about 19 June 1985. Andres et al (1999) saw recently fledged young 28 June 1997. M. and J. Stotts reported a nest with young 16 to 18 June 1998 at Tonalite Creek, Chicahagof Island (Andres in lit).
*Red-breasted Nuthatch. Sitta canadensis. Scarce, irregular resident. There are only these records: Shaw (1907) heard one at Sitka in the summer of 1906. The 1907 Alexander expedition saw one at Port Frederick in late July (Grinnell 1909). The Christmas counts recorded the species on 8 of the 28 times. MacDonald (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw a small flock 7 September 1972. One was recorded in June near Hoonah on the Breeding Bird Survey, 1992-97.
Brown Creeper. Certhia americana occidentalis. Sparse resident, mainly in old growth forest (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Andres etal 2004). Grinnell (1898) collected two “scarcely fledged” juveniles 2 July 1896 near Sitka. For subspecific identification, see Webster (1986). Noted on 23 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Winter Wren. Troglodytes troglodytes ochroeleucus. Common resident; ubiquitous (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Cotter and Andres 2000). I found a nest with young 25 July 1940 (Webster 1941). M. and J. Stotts saw a nest with young 16 to 18 June 1998 at Tonalite Creek, Chichagof Island (Andres in lit). Andres et al (1999) saw recently fledged young 5 July 1997 at Game Creek, Chichagof Island, and 27-28 June 1997 near Silver Bay and Sitka, Baranof Island.
American Dipper. Cinclus mexicanus unicolor. Sparse resident. Found along every rocky, large creek or river at all seasons.
Golden-crowned Kinglet. Regulus satrapa olivaceus. Common resident. Lower elevation coniferous forests, especially old growth, are the chief habitat (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Cotter and Andres 2000; Andres et al 2004). M. and J. Stotts saw a nest with young 16 to 18 June 1998 at Tonalite Creek, Chichagof Island (Andres in lit).
Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Regulus calendula grinelli. Common summer visitant, and migrant; scarce and irregular in winter. Extreme dates are those I recorded in 1940—31 March to 21 August, except for the Christmas count records, 10 of the 28 times. Andres et al (1999) reported that in 1997 they saw recently fledged young near Silver Bay 27 June and an adult carrying food 29 June near Sitka.
*Mountain Bluebird. Sialia currucoides. Rare spring migrant Bailey (1927) saw a male in Hoonah Sound 19 May 1920. I saw one in Sitka in May 1934. M. Mills saw one 30 May 1992 (Tobish 1992).
Swainson’s Thrush. Catharus ustulatus ustulatus. Common summer visitant at lower elevations, usually near forest edges (Andres et al 2004). The nest record cited by Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959) and Willett (1914) is an error. Extreme dates are the one I saw 29 May 1940 and one which Ward and Tedin saw 3 November 1996 (Tobish 1997).
Hermit Thrush. Catharus guttatus osgoodi. Common summer visitant; most numerous in open coniferous stands near muskegs (Andres et al 2004); scarce in winter. Grinnell (1909) recorded a nest with young found at Idaho Inlet 22 July 1907 by Frank Stephens; the nest cited by Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959) from Sitka is an error. Andres et al (1999) on 5 July 1997 saw an adult carrying food at Game Creek, Chichagof Island. One or two were seen each of six winters by the Johnstons, Hanson, Ward, and Tedin (Gibson and then Tobish, 1987 to 2002). Also recorded on four of the 28 Christmas counts. Most birds, however, arrive in May and leave in September.
American Robin. Turdus migratorius caurinus. Common summer visitant; abundant migrant; irregular in winter, numbers from common to none (Christmas counts and my own experience). In years of winter scarcity, the large flocks leave in October and return in April. Recorded on 26 of the 28 Christmas counts. I saw a fresh eggshell 27 June 1985. Andres et al (1999) reported that 6 July 1997 they saw an adult carrying food near Hoonah and a brood of recently-fledged young 27 June 1997 near Silver Bay,
Varied Thrush. Ixoreus naevius naevius. Common summer visitant mainly in closed-canopy spruce dominated forest (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Andres et al 2004); irregular in winter numbers from common to none (Christmas counts—27 of 28 times—and my own observations). On 10 February 1999 Ward and Tedin counted “hundreds” (Tobish 1999). I saw a bob-tailed fledgling 13 June 1985. Andres et al (1999) reported that 27 June 1997 they saw recently fledged young near Silver Bay. M. and J. Stotts saw an adult carrying food 16 to 18 June at Tonalite Creek, Chichagof Island (Andres in lit).
*Townsend Solitaire. Myadestes townsendi. Rare straggler. Hanson saw one in January 1989 (Gibson 1989).
Water Pipit. Anthus rubescens pacificus. Common summer visitant on alpine tundra; common migrant in all open areas; rare winter straggler. Robert Armstrong saw one 17 January 1981 (Gibson 1981), but, otherwise, extreme dates are from 22 April to 2 September (both my observations in 1940). For subspecies identification, see Webster (1988).
Bohemian Waxwing. Bombycilla garrulus pallidiceps. Irregular fall and winter visitant in small numbers. Merrill (Willett 1914) collected one 27 August 1904. I saw a few in Sitka in the autumns of 1934 and 1935 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). The Christmas counts reported a few in 10 of the 28 years. Also, Ward (Tobish 1996) saw two from 1 to 7 July 1996.
*Cedar Waxwing. Bombycilla cedrorum. Apparently a rare resident. I saw a small flock sometime in the fall of 1934. A flock of thirteen was recorded on the 26 December 1982 Christmas count. Gibson (1976a) saw one at Little Port Walter 7 July 1975. Isleib and Tobish saw one 8 November 1985 (Gibson 1986). Ward saw two 18 to 24 June 1993 (Tobish 1993). Ward and Tedin saw one 30 July 1998 (Tobish 1993). Hanson and I saw five on 19 August 1986 and I saw one two days later.
**Brown Shrike. Lanius cristatus. Rare straggler. Ward and Tedin saw one 26 to 29 November 1999 (Tobish 2000).
*Northern Shrike. Lanius excubitor. Rare winter visitant The only records are: One seen on the 1 January 1984 Christmas count; one 13 January 1974; one in mid-February 1977 (last two records by Johnson, Kessel and Gibson MS).
European Starling- Sturnus vulgaris. By 1984, a sparse summer visitant; common migrant and winter visitant at least in Sitka. The first observation on record was 25 December 1965, flock of 50 by A. Johnstone (Kessel and Gibson 1978), although the species probably arrived a few years before then. Kessel and Gibson (1978) listed fall and winter records also from Little Port Walter. Andres et al (1999) reported a nest with young in Sitka 28 June 1987.
*Tennessee Warbler. Vermivora peregrina. Rare migrant. Martin McNicholl saw one at Sitka 24 August 1974, but this is the only record (Kessel and Gibson 1978).
Orange-crowned Warbler. Vermivora celata lutescens. Common summer visitant in brushy areas, such as along streams, roads, and landslides and in 11 to 30 year old clearcuts. (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Cotter and Andres 2000). Extreme dates are 3 May 1940 by me to 16 November 1992 by Ward (Tobish 1993). The Rocky Mountain subspecies, V. c. orestera occurs as a migrant; I collected one 2 September 1986 and identified it at CAS.
Yellow Warbler. Dendroica petechia rubiginosa. Common summer visitant in areas of deciduous trees or brush at low elevation. I recorded both of the extreme dates in 1940, 14 May to 7 September. On 15 August 19861 watched two fledglings begging from their parents.
*Yellow-rumped Warbler. Dendroica coronata. Apparently a scarce resident. Bailey (1927) saw one in Hoonah Sound 15 May 1920. Gordon saw a few on the west coast of Chichagof Island 2-7 July 1969. Recorded on the 19 December 1993 Christmas count. Ward and Tedin saw one 13 December 2000 (Tobish 2001). Andres et al (1999) on 4 July 1997 saw a brood of recently fledged young at Whitestone Harbor, Chichagof Island. There was one record on the Game Creek, Chicagof Island, Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-98.
Townsend’s Warbler. Dendroica townsendi. Common summer visitant especially in old-growth coniferous forests (Sidle and Kogut 1985; Andres et al 2004). Extreme dates on record are from 20 May 1920 by Bailey (1927) in Hoonah Sound to 11 November 1997 by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 1998). Pringle saw a female nest building 29 June 1985. On 15 August 19861 saw an adult feeding two or three fledglings.
Black-throated Green Warbler. Dendroica virens virens. Apparently a rare straggler; McCaskie (1968) recorded an adult male collected at Idaho Inlet 18 July 1941 by Jewett (1942).
*Blackpoll Warbler. Dendroica striata. Williams (Kessel and Gibson MS) saw one 8 May 1947 at Little Port Walter and listed a vague, undated record for Tenakee. On 26 May 1989 Hanson saw one (Tobish 1989).
*Common Yellowthroat. Geothlypis trichas. On 26 May 1989 Hanson saw one (Tobish 1989). Boehmer saw a pair on 26 February 1987. There were a few June sightings on the Game Creek, Chichagof Island, Breeding Bird Survey, 1993-98.
Wilson’s Warbler. Wilsonia pusilla pileolata. Common summer visitant, especially in the tunda-coniferous forest ecotone at timberline and in alder thickets (Webster 1950; Cotter and Andres 2000). Extreme dates on record are 19 May 1920 in Hoonah Sound by Bailey (1927) and one I saw 7 September 1986. Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869) collected a nest with eggs in 1865 or 1866. Andres et al (1999) reported an adult carrying food 27 June 1997 near Silver Bay.
Tree Sparrow. Spizella arborea ochracea. Scarce winter visitant reported only these times: One specimen taken by Bischoff in 1865-66 (Dall and Bannister 1869). I saw one in April 1930. One was seen 18 December 1977, three on 26 December 1982, and one 30 December 1984 on the Christmas counts. Kessel and Gibson (MS) state that Timm saw the species 24 times on Yakobi and Chichagof Islands 16 to 29 May 1973.
*Chipping Sparrow. Spizella passerina boreophila. Rare winter visitant. There are only five records: Two on the 27 December 1981 Christmas count; one seen by Ward 30 November and 4 December, 1990 (Tobish 1991); one seen 24 November 2001 by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2002), one seen in early 2002—up to 11 February—by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2002). M. Dangel (in lit) saw two on 12 September 2004. I have not seen a Sitka specimen, but have studied others from Alaska and northwestern Canada.
Savannah Sparrow. Passerculus sandwichensis. Common migrant in all open areas; sparse summer visitant on alpine tundra and a few river mouth meadows; rare winter straggler. Extreme dates of record are one I saw 22 April 1940, to 23 September 1913 in Silver Bay by Willett (1914). Winter records were three times on Christmas counts. The breeding race is P. s. crassus (cf. Webster 1978); I have examined May and June specimens from Baranof, Chichagof, and Kruzof Islands. Many of the migrants belong to the Aleutian race, P. s. sandwichensis, which was collected by Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869), Willett (1914), and myself in April, May, and September. One September specimen is intermediate between crassus and anthinus, the northern Alaska race. Grinnell (1909) recorded a nest with eggs collected by Chase Littlejohn 25 June 1907 on a mountain above Hoonah.
Fox Sparrow. Passerella iliaca. Common summer visitant in alder thickets, such as those about the town of Sitka and in 11-year old clearcuts; also a common migrant and a scarce winter visitant. Migrants pass through chiefly in April and September. Recorded by the Christmas count 22 of the 28 years. I watched a nest being built 15 June 1985; on 21 June a parent was incubating three eggs.
The local breeding race is P. i. townsendi. Four additional races (unalaschensis, annectens, sinuosa, chilcatensis) have been collected in migration during April, August, September, and October (Webster 1988).
Song Sparrow. Melospiza melodia. Common at all seasons, on or near the beach; however, the winter population is different from the summer population. The Christmas count recorded several individuals 26 of the 28 years. Grinnell (1909) reported a nest with eggs 23 June 1907 near Hoonah, found by Stephens.
Specimens of M. m. rufina, the breeding subspecies, were reported by Bonaparte (1850), Dall and Bannister (1869), and Willett (1914); I studied specimens taken by several collectors in several years on dates from 18 March to 31 August Specimens of M. m. caurina, which winters, were reported by Willett (1914), Swarth (1909), and Gabrielson and Lincoln (1959); I studied fifteen specimens of caurina taken by various collectors on dates from 8 August to 11 April. Specimens of M. m. kenaensis were reported by Gabrielson and Lincoln from Idaho Inlet in December (day and year unspecified) and St. Lazaria Island 15 August 1912.
Lincoln’s Sparrow. Melospinza lincolnii gracilis. Common summer visitant in muskegs, marshes, and riparian brush in clearcuts (Sidle and Kogut 1985); also a rare resident. One was seen on three of the 28 Christmas counts. Grinnell (1909) reported a nest with young found near Hoonah 26 June 1907 by Littlejohn. Extreme dates are 25 May 1985 (I saw one) to 6 September 1940 (I saw one) other than the three winter records.
*White-throated Sparrow. Zonotrichia albicollis. Rare winter visitant; only five records. Leue (Kessel and Gibson 1978) saw one 30 November 1974 and for a few days before that; the Christmas count recorded one 27 December 1981 and one 15 December 1991. Ward saw one 23 to 30 November 1990 (Tobish 1991) and Ward and Tedin one 13 January to 21 February 1998 (Tobish 1999).
Golden-crowned Sparrow. Zonotrichia atricapilla. Common migrant; scarce winter visitant. Extreme dates are from 21 August 1915 (immature female specimen, MCZ) to 15 May 1940 (I saw one) and 7 to 24 May 1920 in Hoonah Sound (Bailey 1927). However, most of the birds migrate through in April, May and September. Recorded on 8 of the 28 Christmas counts.
*White-crowned Sparrow. Zonotrichia leucophrys. Scarce winter visitant; recorded on 10 of the 28 Christmas counts. Boehmer reported one at her feeder all winter of 1985-86 and in April and October of 1987.
t*Harris Sparrow. Zonotrichia querula. Rare winter straggler. A. Loescher saw and photographed an immature at Port Alexander 2 December 1985. Ward and Tedin saw one 20 November 1997 and two 12 December to 10 January 1998-99 (Tobish 1998 and 1999). Recorded on three of the 28 Christmas counts and also on a Christmas count made in 2001 at Port Alexander.
**Lark Sparrow. Chondestes grammacus. Rare wanderer. Ward and Tedin saw one 15 August 1999 (Tobish 2000).
Dark-eyed Junco. Junco hyemalis oreganus. Common resident, especially in brush stage clearcuts and along forest-muskeg edges (Sidle and Kogut 1985). Recorded in numbers on all 28 Christmas counts. Perhaps other races occur, but I believe that sight records for them lack scientific validity. Bischoff collected eggs in June 1866 (Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959). Andres et al (1999) in 1997 saw recently fledged young at Sitka 28 June and at three localities on Chichagof Island, 4-6 July. M. and J. Stotts saw a nest with young 16 to 18 June 1998 at Tonalite Creek, Chichagof Island (Andres in lit).
Lapland Longspur. Calcarius lapponicus alascensis. Rare migrant and winter visitant These are the only records: Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869; Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959) collected single birds 14 May 1866 and in November 1866. David Webster saw several in the spring of 1939. The Christmas count recorded five on 16 December 1978.
Snow Bunting. Plectrophenax nivalis nivalis. Scarce winter visitant, less often in recent years than formerly. Only on 16 December 1978, when eight were seen, and on 21 December 1977 (one bird seen) did the Christmas count group see the species. I saw one during March 1935 and two on 31 March 1940. Bischoff collected some in January 1866. Willett (1914) recorded several seen (and one collected) by Merrill on three dates—early December 1910, 17 November 1911, and 7 December 1912.
Red-winged Blackbird. Agelaius phoeniceus arctolegus. Formerly a rare straggler, reported only once: Bruce Short (Kessel and Gibson 1978) saw a male 15 August 1976 at Little Port Walter, hi 1985 the species invaded Baranof Island; on 24 May Hanson and I saw a female near Goddard, which I collected (Webster 1988). Hanson noted a singing male at Swan Lake daily, 26 through 30 May, which I saw on the last date. On 30 June, Boehmer saw two males and one female there and on 7 June one male. Finally, on 23 August and in early September Hanson saw single males.
Rusty Blackbird. Euphagus carolinus. Scarce fall migrant. These are the only records: Bischoff collected a few in 1865-1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869). Allen Hasselborg (Swarth 1911) saw one at Freshwater Bay 25 November 1909. I saw one (Gabrielson and Lincoln, 1959) 7 September 1940. Two were seen at Tenakee 28 December 1999 (Wisenbaugh 2000).
t **Brewer’s Blackbird. Euphagus cyanocephalus. The only record was a male-plumaged individual seen from 19 November 1986 on to 19 March 1987. It was seen by Armstrong, Boehmer, Hanson, Isleib, and Schulz and photographed by Hanson. Also, A. Johnstone (in lit from Boehmer) saw it again 14 November 1987.
t*Brown-headed Cowbird. Molothrus ater. One was seen in October 1974 at Little Port Walter by Wertheimer (Kessel and Gibson 1978). Hanson saw the species several times each summer beginning in 1978. In 1986 Hanson and I saw from one to three several times, 17 to 26 August. Kessel and Gibson (MS) state that C. H. Sherwood saw one 13 September 1963.
t**Brambling. Fringilla montifringilla. Rare straggler. Loescher saw and photographed two at Port Alexander for 10 days in November 1985 (Gibson 1986). Hanson saw one in December and January 1988-89 (Gibson 1989). Ward and Tedin saw one 9 to 27 January 1997 (Tobish 1998). Recorded on two of the 28 Christmas counts.
*Black-headed Grosbeak. Pheucticus melanocephalus. A female was seen 8 November 2002 by Ward and Tedin (Tobish 2003).
*Rosy Finch. Leucosticte arctoa littoralis. Sparse summer visitant above timberline. One, the cotype of the subspecies, was taken by F. Seiffert for Bischoff in January, 1866 (Dall and Bannister 1869; Baird 1869; Deignan, 1961). Grinnell (1909) recorded several seen and one taken, 21 and 27 June 1907 above Hoonah. I saw a few in 1940 on Harbor Mountain 24 April, 5 May on Mount Edgecumbe, and 27 June on Mount Verstovia. (To be expected at low elevations in winter, but there have been no records since 1866.) Kessel and Gibson (1978) reported a female feeding two fledged young 23 July 1974 above Little Port Walter by Wertheimer, and a pair seen and one collected 6 July 1975 on Ptarmigan Peak, Baranof Island, by Gibson.
Pine Grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator flammula. Usually a sparse resident; however, in some years it is common and in other years absent. It was reported on 19 of the 28 Christmas counts.
Red Crossbill. Loxia curvirostra sitkensis. Varies in numbers from absent to abundant; resident in some years. Found mainly in closed-canopy spruce-dominated forest (Andres et al 2004). I saw a female feeding a fledgling 7 September 1940. These reports state the numbers in different years: In 1895 “common” (Streator, according to Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959); in 1896 “common” (Grinnell 1898); in 1912 ‘Very common” but in 1913 scarce (Willett 1914); “noted daily” 7 to 24 May 1920 (Bailey 1927); abundant in 1940 (my observation); fairly common on Chichagof Island in 1969 (Gordon); “abundant” winter of 1975-76 (A. Johnstone, reported by Gibson 1976); “abundant” in July 1975 on Baranof and Chichagof Islands (Gibson 1976a); absent on 18 of the 28 Christmas counts, but a few seen on five and many on five (1975-76,1992-93, 1994-95,2000-01, 2002-03). Scarce in June 1984 but common in May-June 1985 and sparse in August-September 1986 according to my observations. A specimen from St Lazaria Island, 11 August 1912, was identified by Phillips (1981) as L. c. real
White-winged Crossbill. Loxia leucoptera leucoptera. Varies in numbers from absent to sparse. Apparently a summer visitant that sometimes overwinters, because extreme dates are 19 May 1920 (Bailey 1927) in Hoonah Sound to 7 September 1940 near Sitka (I saw one) except for one or a few seen six of the 28 Christmas counts.
Common Redpoll. Carduelis flammea flammea. Irregular winter visitant. Collected by Bischoff (Dall and Bannister 1869). I examined one in hand in January 1930. Recorded on six of the 28 Christmas counts. Hanson and the Johnstones saw many in early 1985,20 February to 4 April.
**Hoary Redpoll. Carduelis hornemanni. Iregular winter visitant. Recorded only on two Christmas counts—four on 18 December 1977 and six on 16 December 1978. During the 1977-78 winter several observers saw the species on several occasions (Kessel and Gibson MS).
Pine Siskin. Carduelis pinus pinus. In summer, varies from common to abundant; in winter, varies from absent to abundant. Recorded on 26 of 28 Christmas counts. Andres et al (1999) reported confirmed breeding at Hoonah without details.
*Evening Grosbeak. Coccothraustes vespertinus. Rare winter straggler. Reported only 24 February 1970, a flock of six to 12 birds seen by Gary Finger and others (Kessel and Gibson 1978).
DISCUSSION OF GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION
Several years ago I analyzed the distribution of the breeding birds of southeastern Alaska (Webster 1987). I summarized: (1) There are radical differences (75 species) between the avifauna of the coast and that of the interior. (2) There are radical differences (69 species) between the avifauna of the mainland coast and that of the Alexander Archipelago. (3) Mild differences (23 species) exist between the eastern/southern islands and those of the Sitka islands (figure 1). (4) Ten species of sea birds nest only on peripheral, westerly islets. (5) The Queen Charlotte Islands of northwestern British Columbia show moderate differences (33 species) from the eastern/southern islands of southeastern Alaska.
Of the 87 species which I have called “breeding” or “probably breeding” in the Sitka vicinity in the preceding pages, four species (Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt’s Cormorant, Black Turnstone, and Thick-billed Murre) nest in no other area of southeastern Alaska. Four species (Hooded Merganser, Black-legged Kittiwake, Water Pipit, and Rosy Finch) nest on the Sitka islands and the mainland, but not on the eastern/southern islands. Seven species (Fork- tailed Storm Petrel, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Common Murre, Rhinocerous Auklet, Ancient Murrelet, Cassin’s Auklet, and Western Screech Owl) breed on the Sitka islands as well as those to the south, but not on the mainland. Finally, 72 species nest throughout southeastern Alaska.
The foregoing list of 87 breeding or probably breeding species in the Sitka area could be much improved by more field study. For 9 of these species the data are distinctly suspect or inadequate—Pacific Loon, Green-winged Teal, Surf Scoter, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Greater Yellowlegs, Black Turnstone, Cedar Waxwing, Brown-headed Cowbird. For 12 more species which are common or regular in summer and almost certainly nesting, there are no confirmed breeding data. For 15 species which I have called not breeding, there exists some evidence, such as a few summer observations, that they actually do nest near Sitka. These last are the Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Northern Goshawk, Sandhill Crane, Herring Gull, Parakeet Auklet, Pygmy Owl, Downy Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, Alder Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red- winged Blackbird.
There is some evidence of a difference in avifauna between Baranof and Chichagof Islands. However, no one has done the intensive field work on the basis of which such a distinction might definitely be made. For marine birds, which nest on the small outlying islands, Sowls et al (1982) and Nelson and Lehnhausen (1983) found varying nesting ranges in several species.
In most parts of the world, and especially in warmer latitudes, a group of islands such as the Sitka part of the Alexander Archipelago would have a very distinct, or peculiar, avifauna. Such is not the case here. Presumably the lack of localized subspecies (there is only one difference in subspecies between the breeding birds of the Sitka islands and those to the east and south) and scarcity of species differences results from the brief time (16,000 years or less) since the Pleistocene glaciers retreated and left the islands habitable for birds. The single subspecies difference is in the Winter Wren, in which one race is resident on Chichagof, Baranof, and Admiralty Islands and another on Prince of Wales and associated islands (Rea 1986).
I hope that this summary of existing knowledge about Sitka birds will encourage more study, by more people, of the birds Kittlitz enjoyed so many years ago.
Abbott, G. A. 1915. Interesting sets in my shorebird collection. Oologist 32: 149-152.
Agler, B. A., S. J. Kendall, and D. B. Irons. 1998. Abundance and distribution of Marbled and Kittlitz’s Murrelets in south central and southeast Alaska. Condor 100:254-265.
American Ornitholgists’ Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th ed. A.O.U. Washington, D.C. 1-829.
Andres, B. A., D. L. Brann, and B. T. Browne. 1999. Inventory of breeding birds on local training areas of the Alaska Army National Guard. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Report, mimeo, 104pp.
Andres, B. A., M. J. Stotts, and J. M. Stotts. 2004. Breeding birds of research natural areas in southeastern Alaska. Northwestern Naturalist 85:95-103.
Bailey, A. M. 1927. Notes on the birds of southeastern Alaska. Auk 44: 1-23,184-205,351-367.
Bailey, R. and D. Bailey. 1990-192. Christmas bird count, Sitka, Alaska. American Birds 44: 602; 45: 607-8; 46: 598-9.
Baird, S. F. 1869. On additions to the bird-fauna of North America made by the scientific corps of the Russo-American telegraph expedition. Trans. Chicago Acad. Sci. 1: 311-325.
Bean, T. H. 1982. Notes on birds collected during the summer of 1880 in Alaska and Siberia. Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 5: 144-173.
Bonaparte, C. L. 1850. Conspectus avium I (60): 477.
Carter, H. R. and S. G. Sealy, 2005. Who solved the mystery of the Marbled Murrelet? Northwestern Naturalist 86:2-11.
Conover, H. B. 1944. The North Pacific allies of the Purple Sandpiper. Field Mus. Nat. Hist Zool. Ser.29: 169-179.
Converse, M. 1992. Christmas count, Tenakee Springs. American Birds 46: 599.
Cotter, P. A. and B. A. Andres. 2000. Breeding bird associations on the Alaska Breeding Bird Survey. U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Information and Technology Report 2000-0010. 53pp.
Dall, W. H. and H. M. Bannister. 1869. List of the birds of Alaska, with biographical notes. Trans. Chicago Acad. Sci: 267-310.
Deignan, H. G. 1961. Type specimens of birds in the United States National Museum. Bull. U. S.Nat. Mus.221: 1-718.
Delacour, J. 1951. Preliminary note on the taxonomy of Canada Geese, Branta Canadensis. Amer. Mus. Novit. 1537: 1-10.
Drent, R. H. and C. J. Guiguet. 1961. A catalogue of British Columbia sea-bird colonies. Occsl. Pap. Br. Col. Prov. Mus. 12: 1-173.
Elliot, D. G. 1867. Description of‘Scops kennicotti. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 19: 99.
Gibson, D. D. 1971-1988. The changing seasons—Alaska region. American birds 25: 613; 26: 642; 28: 92 and 677-678; 29: 103-105 and 729 and 895; 30: 110-111 and 755; 31:211 and 1036; 32: 388 and 1198; 33: 205; 34:298; 35: 327 and 969-970; 36: 322 and 1007; 58 37: 328; 38: 348; 39: 90-91 and 200; 40:155-16 and 316; 41: 130-131 and 316-318; 42:
309,474, and 1330.
__________. 1976a. Bird species and habitat inventory Alexander Archipelago, Alaska, summer 1975. U. S. Forest Service report, 66 pp. mimeo.
Gibson, D. D. and B. Kessel. 1989. Geographic variation in the Marbled Godwit and description of an Alaskan subspecies. Condor 91:43 6-443.
Gibson, D. D. and Kessel, 1992. Seventy-four new avian taxa documented in Alaska 1976-1991. Condor 94: 454-467.
Gibson, D. D. and B. Kessel. 1997. Inventory of the species and subspecies of Alaska birds. Western Birds: 28:45-95.
Gibson, D. D. and S. O. MacDonald. 1975. Bird species and habitat inventory, mainland southeast Alaska, summer 1974. U. S. Forest Service report. 73 pp. mimeo.
Grinnell, J. 1898. Summer birds of Sitka, Alaska. Auk. 15:122-131.
__________. 1909. Birds and mammals of the 1907 Alexander expedition to southeastern Alaska. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 5: 181-244.
Hanson, K. 1982-1989. Christmas bird count, Sitka, Alaska. American Birds 36: 444; 37:451; 38:475; 39: 469,40: 651; 41: 668-675; 42: 635-6; 43: 678.
Henning, R. A. ed. 1982. Sitka and its ocean/island world. Alaska Geographic, 9(2): 1-128.
Jewett, S. G. 1942. Bird notes from southeastern Alaska. Murrelet 23: 67-75.
Johnstone, A. 1976.-1979 and 1993-2004. Christmas bird count, Sitka, Alaska. American Birds (Vols. 48-51 entitled Field Notes) 30:219; 31:470; 32: 486; 33: 383-384; 47: 566- 567; 48:442-443; 49: 412; 50:437; 51:226; 98: 100; 99: 101-102; 100: 105-106; 101: 114; 102: on line; 103: on line; 104: on line.
Kenyon, K. W. 1990. Distribution of albatrosses in the North Pacific and adjacent waters. Condor 52:97-103.
Kessel, B. and D. D. Gibson. 1978. Status and distribution of Alaska birds. Studies in Avian Biology No. 1: 1-100.
Kittlitz, F. H. von. 1858. Denkwurdigkeiten einer Reise nach dem russischen Amerika, nach Mikronesien und durch Kamtschatka von F. H. von Kittlitz. Perthes, Gotha. 2 Vols. 1-381 and 1-463.
Kury, C. R. 1972. Ring-necked Duck and Ruddy Turnstones wintering in Sitka. Murrelet 53: 11.
Leue, T. 1975. Christmas bird count, Sitka, Alaska. American Birds 29: 214.
McCaskie, R. G. 1968. A specimen of the Black-throated Green Warbler from Alaska. Auk 85: 320.
Mertle, P. K. 1995. Christmas count, Port Alexander. Field Notes 49: 411.
Nelson, E. W. 1887. Report upon natural history collections made in Alaska, 1877-1881. Arctic Publ. Signal Service, U. S. Army 3: 1-337.
Nelson, J. W. and W. A. Lehnhausen. 1983. Marine bird and mammal survey of the outer coast of southeast Alaska, summer 1982. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. 1-312, mimeo.
Nelson, J. W., D. R. Nysewander, J. L. Trapp, and A. L. Sowls. 1987. Breeding bird populations on St. Lazaria Island, Alaska. Murrelet 68:1-11.
Pitelka, F. A. 1950. Geographical variation and the species problem in the shorebird genus Limnodromus. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 50: 1-108.
Quinlan, S.E. and J. H. Hughes. 1990. Location and description of a Marbled Murraiet tree nest
site in Alaska. Condor 92:1068-1073.
Rea, A. M. 1986. Western races of Troglodytes troglodytes. PP. 138-140 in Phillips, A. R. Known Birds of North and Middle America. Published by author, Denver, CO. 1-259.
Sanger, G. A. 1972. Checklist of bird observations from the eastern North Pacific Ocean, 1955-
1967. Murrelet, 53: 16-21.
__________. 1972a. The recent pelagic status of the Short-tailed Albatross (Diomedea albatrus). Biol. Conservation, 4:189-193.
__________. 1974. Laysan Albatross (Diomedea immutabilis). Smithsonian Contrib. Zool. 158: 129-153.
Schlegel, H. 1862-64. Museum d’Hist Natur. des Pasy-Bas.; Revue meth. et crit. de la collection d’Oiseaux. Museum, Leyden. 7 vols.
Shaw, W. T. 1907. Sitka birds. Alaska-Yukon Mag. 4:121-123.
Sidle, W. B. and T. E. Kogut. 1985. habitat orientations of forest birds in southeastern Alaska. Northwest Sci. 59: 58-65.
Sowls, A. L., D. R. Nysewander, J. L. Trapp, and J. W. Nelson. 1982. Marine bird and mammal survey of the outer coast of southeast Alaska, summer 1981. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. 162 pp., mimeo.
Storer, R. W. 1950. Geographic variation in the Pigeon Gullimots of North America. Condor, 52:28-31.
Swarth, H. S. 1911. Birds and mammals of the 1909 Alexander Alaska expedition. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 7:9-172.
__________. 1936. Origins of the fauna of the Sitkan district, Alaska. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 4th series, 23: 59-78.
Tobish, T., Jr. 1989-2004. The changing seasons—Alaska region. American Birds (so titled, Vols. 43-47), Field Notes (so titled, Vols. 48-52), North American Birds (so titled, Vols. 53-58). 43: 152,354-355,526,1356; 44: 310,480,1171; 45: 141,304, 1189-1151; 46: 136-138,301-303,462-465,136-138; 47: 133-136,288-290,443-445,1137-1140; 48: 140-142, 238-240; 49: 84-87; 50: 983-985; 51: 102-105,316-18, 785-788, 910-912, 1037-1039; 52: 107-110,241-243, 372-375,490-492; 53: 89-91,196-198, 315-317; 54: 89-92,212-218; 56: 212-214, 339-341; 56: 89-92,210-211; 57: 102-104,241-243, 389- 391,58:125-128.
Trapp, J. L. and J. G. King. 1985. Winter bird populations of a protected salt-water bay in southeast Alaska and of exposed nearshore marine waters and tidal flats; 14 studies, numbers 61-72. American Birds 39: 120 plus supplemental printout pages 90-108.
Webster, J. D. 1941. Notes on the birds of Sitka and vicinity, southeastern Alaska. Condor 43: 120-121.
__________. 1941a. The breeding of the Black Oyster-catcher. Wilson Bull. 53:141-156.
__________. 1950. Altitudinal zonation of birds in southeastern Alaska. Murrelet 31:22-26.
__________. 1978. Notes on the birds of the Haines area of southeastern Alaska. Condor 80: 111-112.
__________. 1983. A new subspecies of Fox Sparrow from Alaska. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 96: 664-668.
__________. 1986. Certhia americana Bonaparte. In Phillips, A. R., the known birds of North and Middle America, Part I. Pp. 195-212, publ. by author, Denver, CO, 1-259.
__________. 1987. Geographic distribution of birds in southeastern Alaska—an analysis. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. 95: 555-561.
__________. 1988. Some bird specimens from Sitka, Alaska. Murrelet 69: 46-48.
Wik, D. and G. Streveler. 1968. Birds of Glacier Bay National Monument. U. S. Nat. Park Service. 80 pp., mimeo.
Wisenbaugh, V. 2000. Christmas count, Tenakee Springs. American Birds 100: 1-6-107.
__________. 1997. Christmas count, Tenakee Springs. Field Notes 50:437.
__________. 1999. Christmas count, Tenakee Srpings. American Birds 99: 102.
Willett, G. 1912. Report on birds of St. Lazaria bird reservation, Alaska. Bird-lore 14: 419-426.
__________. 1914. Birds of Sitka and vicinity, southeastern Alaska. Condor 16: 71-91. . 1921. Bird notes from southeastern Alaska. Condor 23:156-159.
3 thoughts on “Birds of Sitka Alaska”
Paul Suchanek of Juneau passed me a link to your website and your posting of Webster’s “Birds of Sitka, Alaska.” Paul and I both are involved with eBird, an online birding program out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I appreciate having access to this list of SE Alaska bird species.
In your leadoff paragraph preceding the list of birds, you mention converting the list from another program and asked viewers to let you know if we notice any errors.
In the list of references under “Literature Cited” at the end of the bird list, I did find a minor error. In the reference “Nelson, J. W., D. R. Nysewander, J. L. Trappy, and A. L. Sowls. 1987,” the middle name should be “J. L. Trapp” not “J. L. Trappy.”
That is John L. Trapp, who I know from the early 1970’s on Adak Island, in the Aleutians. John is correctly listed in the line beginning with Sowls, A. L., and again in the line beginning with his own last name, Trapp.
I last corresponded with John back in 2007 while trying to correct some of Adak’s place names on new maps produced by USF&W.
Thanks for the correction – I’ll get it fixed.
I happened to run into John Trapp in a virtual fashion when I stumbled on to his blog a few years back. He’s not been updating much in the last year or so, but he will occasionally post something. If you’re interested and not aware of it, the address is:
You may also be interested in the SE Alaska Natural History wiki I’ve been putting together. It’s still in the relatively early stages of development, but the list of bird species is fairly complete: http://wiki.seaknature.org/Category:Bird