Juneau Audubon Society

P.O. Box 21725

Juneau, AK 99802-1725

Spring Bird Migration Observations

Juneau, Alaska



This report on migratory birds and other birds of note observed in Juneau during Spring, 2002 was prepared by Steve Zimmerman.



The Spring migration period extends from March 1 through May 31.

Spring in Juneau was marked by unusually cold temperatures and the driest March and April on record. Cool weather continued into the first three weeks of May, a period in which unusually high numbers of some migrants were seen. Very visible on the Mendenhall Wetlands for several days were large flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese (up to 440 birds) and Snow Geese (in excess of 40 birds) as well as several reports of abnormally high numbers of Golden-crowned, White-crowned, Savannah and Fox Sparrows. This phenomenon was also reported from nearby Gustavus (B. Paige pers. comm.). The diversity of species in Juneau was also high with several rare migrants (Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Duck, Ruddy Duck, Wilson’s Phalarope, Little Gull, Black Tern (Juneau’s first) and Cassin’s Vireo being observed. No Mountain Bluebirds were reported during spring migration, however. Of note was a Western Sandpiper that had been banded in La Paz, Baja Mexico and was seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on April 30 (PS).


AD = Al Demartini

BA = Bev Agler

RA = Robert Armstrong

LC = Laurie Craig

RG = Richard Gordon

MJ = Mary Jefferson

MLK = Mary Lou King

DM = Deanna MacPhail

NM = Nina Mollett

BP = Bruce Paige

PP = Pat Pourchot

DR = Deborah Rudis

JS = John Schoen

MS = Mark Schwan

SS = Stan Senner

PS = Paul Suchanek

GVV = Gus VanVliet

SZ = Steve Zimmerman


Pied-billed Grebe. A single bird seen on Moose Lake (Dredge Lakes) on May 6 (GVV, PS).

Wood Duck. A pair were seen at King’s house on April 26 (MLK). A single male was reported near a nest box in a pond past the Fred Meyer store (MJ).

Green-winged Teal. A crecca male was seen on March 22 and 31, and on May 1 near Fish Creek (PS).

Eurasian Wigeon. A male was seen on April 28 (NM, m.obs). It was still being seen through at least May 19 (BA).

Blue-winged Teal. This species was present for an extended period of time, at multiple locations in the Juneau area. The first sighting was on May 8 at the Juneau Community Gardens (PS). Ten to twenty birds were seen several times on the Mendenhall Wetlands over the next three weeks. The highest count was an unusually high 29 birds (PS). Five birds were still present on May 31.

Cinnamon Teal. A single male was seen on May 28 (LC) and was still being seen on May 31 (m. obs.)

Canvasback. Two males and five females, an unusually high number for Juneau, were seen on Moose Lake on May 13 (DM) and again on May 19 (DM, BA).

Redhead. Four were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on May 19, and a single bird was seen in the same area on May 26 (MS).

Ruddy Duck. A female, in the company of Ring-necked Ducks, was seen along the Point Bridget Trail on May 20 (RA, SZ).

Red Knot. Two were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on May 11 (PS). One or two birds were seen there through May 27 (RG, BA, SZ).

Semipalmated Sandpiper. A flock of perhaps 100 birds, a larger than normal number of this species, was seen on May 17 on the Mendenhall Wetlands (GVV) and several birds continued to be seen for several days thereafter. (RG, m. obs.)

Wilson’s Phalarope. Two birds were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on May 17 (GVV). One or two birds were seen there on May 19 and 20 (m. obs.) and again on May 30 (MS, PP).

Franklin’s Gull. An adult bird was seen near the small boat dock in downtown Juneau on May 23 (SS, JS).

Little Gull. An immature bird was seen, and photographed, at the mouth of Fish Creek on May 28 (PS).

Ring-billed Gull. A second spring immature bird was seen at the mouth of Fish Creek on May 29 (GVV, RG, RA, PS, SZ).

Lesser Black-backed Gull. This bird, which has likely been in the Juneau area for many years, was seen multiple times during the April-May period (GVV, m.obs.).

Black Tern. Juneau’s first Black Tern was seen, and photographed, at the mouth of Fish Creek on May 29 (PS, SZ, RG, RA, GVV).

Northern Pygmy-Owl. A single bird was seen on May 6 in the Mendenhall Valley (DR).

Olive-sided Flycatcher. An early, non-singing bird, was seen along the airport dike trail on May 11 (PS, m. obs.).

Western Wood-Pewee. A single bird was seen several times along the Airport Dike Trail during the last week in May (BA, m. obs.).

Say’s Phoebe. A single bird was seen along the airport dike trail on May 17 (DM). A group of four birds were seen along the Taku River in May (AD).

Cassin’s Vireo. A singing bird was seen near Brotherhood Bridge on May 23 and 24 (MS, m. obs.).

Warbling Vireo. Up to three birds were seen in the Brotherhood Bridge area on May 22 and 23 (GVV, m. obs) and one bird was seen near Moose Lake on May 24 (BA).

Black-capped Chickadee. A bird that used a feeder in the Wildmeadow area during much of the winter was seen through mid-March (BA).

Blackpoll Warbler. A single bird was seen near Moose Lake (Dredge Lakes) on May 19 (DR).

Chipping Sparrow. A single bird was seen at a feeder near Auke Bay on May 20 (GVV). Three were seen at Sandy Beach on May 21 (MS).

Brewer’s Timberline Sparrow. A single bird was reported along the airport dike trail on May 4. (RG)

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Copyright 2002 Juneau Audubon.
Revised: December 18, 2002.