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, 2003 was prepared by Steve Zimmerman.



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


BA = Bev Agler

RA = Robert Armstrong

GB = Gwen Baluss

KB = Koren Bosworth

BC = Bill Cole

LC = Lynette Cole;

LC = Laurie Craig

RG = Richard Gordon

DM = Deanna MacPhail

NM = Nina Mollett

DR = David Riccio

DDR = Deborah Rudis

LS = Linda Shaw

MS = Mark Schwan

PS = Paul Suchanek

GVV = Gus VanVliet

SZ = Steve Zimmerman


American Bittern. A single bird was seen on the wing near the community gardens on April 18 (RG). Attempts to resight the bird were not successful. Details will be submitted by Rich Gordon.

Great Egret. Seen first on the wing over Point Louisa on May 7 (GB), the bird was subsequently seen sitting in a tree near the Mendenhall Wetlands the next morning (KB). Attempts to find the bird after that were unsuccessful until May 10 when the bird was found (m.obs.), and photographed (RA), at the Mendenhall Glacier Campground. It was seen there again on the morning of May 11 (GV, RG).

Trumpeter Swan. Occasional sightings of "swans" were reported from several locations throughout the spring period. Birds reported to be Trumpeter Swans were sighted on the Mendenhall Wetlands on March 20, (one bird – DR); and at Mendenhall Glacier forelands--Moose Lake on May 10 (one bird—RA,SZ); and Norton Lake on May 15 (two birds-DM).

White-fronted Goose. Birds were reported on the Mendenhall Wetlands from May 1 (DM) though at least May 24. The high number reported was 24 on May 8 (SZ, RG).

Snow Goose. A flock of approximately 40 birds was seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on April 28 (GV) and on several occasions during the first three weeks of May (m.obs.). Smaller numbers were seen on Mendenhall Lake (LS), and on the Mendenhall Wetlands. One of the birds had a light red neck-collar numbered 8N7. Data from USFWS indicated that this bird was a male, banded on Wrangle Island July 14, 2001 when it was one year old (GV).

Brant. Two birds were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands May 14 – 21 (PS, m. obs.). One was a male bird that had been banded on Banks Island (Canada) on August 1, 1992. It had previously been sighted during the 1997 spring migration in Nanvak Bay, Alaska, and during the winter in Baja California in 1998.

Mallard x Pintail hybrid. This bird was seen and photographed at Fish Creek on March 11-16, (PS). It was also seen on a pond on the north side of the airport dike on March 24 (LFC). Photo by Paul Suchanek Photo by Paul Suchanek

Green-winged Teal. A Eurasian bird (A. c. crecca) was seen at Fish Creek on March 12 and two were seen March 24 and 27 (PS). A possible hybrid A. c. crecca x A. c. carolinensis was seen with the two Eurasian birds on March 27 (PS) and through at least April 13 (NM).

American Wigeon. Approximately 225 birds, a large number for Juneau in the winter, were seen at Fish Creek on March 11 (PS).

Eurasian Wigeon. Two males were seen at Fish Creek, March 11-April 24 (PS, GV). Three birds were seen at Fish Creek on April 19 (BC, LC). The last one was seen May 3 on the Mendenhall Wetlands (PS).

Blue-winged Teal. First one was seen on Moose Lake on April 14 (DM). Another was seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on May 2 (PS) and May 10 (GV, SZ).

Blue-winged Teal x Cinnamon Teal hybrid. An apparent hybrid of these two species was photographed on the Mendenhall Wetlands on May 2 (PS)

Cinnamon Teal. A female was seen on May 2 accompanying a hybrid male on the Mendenhall Wetlands (PS). A male was seen there on May 17 (GV).

Canvasback. Two were at Fish Creek on March 11 (PS).

Redhead. A pair were seen at Fish Creek on April 13 (PS, BA).

Ring-necked Duck. A female was seen on Twin Lakes on March 15 (NM). Many sightings were made at Dredge Lakes, along the Mendenhall River or on the wetlands in April and May. A flock of 12 was seen on the golf course side of the river for much of the month of May.

Red-tailed Hawk. A very dark-phase bird was seen near the Temsco Helicopter base on April 12 (BA). A Krider’s Hawk was observed perched and in-flight on April 18 at the Mendenhall Wetlands (GV). This is perhaps only the second Krider’s Hawk record for Alaska. The other record occurred on April 6, 1998 at Brotherhood Bridge Trail

American Kestrel. One adult male was seen on March 18 at the Mendenhall Wetlands (GV). This is the second consecutive over-wintering record for Alaska.

Merlin. Two birds were observed calling to each other on Kelly Court on April 15 (DM). They are believed to be nesting in that area.

American Coot. A single bird was seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on April 14 (BA) and continued through April 23 (BA, GV, PS). This is a rare early record for Alaska.

Sandhill Crane. A bird in flight over the Mendenhall Wetlands was seen on April 20 (LFC).

Pacific Golden Plover. Two were seen at Point Bridget on May 18 (BA). A single bird, showing a primary tip projection with three staggered primary tips was photographed at Eagle Beach on May 22 (PS).

Killdeer. A small flock (6 – 10 birds) was seen at the mouth of Fish Creek during much of March and April.

Black Oystercatcher. The first two birds were seen at the Shrine of St. Therese on March 30 (BA).

Greater Yellowlegs. One over-wintered on the Mendenhall Wetlands—a rare over-wintering record for Alaska (m.obs.)

Spotted Sandpiper. A bird seen at Point Louisa on March 2 (BA, DM) was the first winter record for this species in Juneau.

Whimbrel. Varying numbers were seen during much of the month of May. The high number reported was 40 on May 15 (BA, DM).

Hudsonian Godwit. Numbers of godwits were low this year. Only Hudsonian Godwits were seen. The first was seen on May 7 (SZ, RG). The highest number reported was two on May 15-18 (PS, BA).

Red Knot. A peak of four were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on May 13 (PS).

Photo by Paul Suchanek

Dunlin. A large mixed flock of approximately 400 Dunlin (2/3) and Rock Sandpipers (1/3) were seen during much of the spring period along Egan Expressway between Salmon and Vanderbilt Creeks (BA).

Western Sandpiper. Among the many peeps seen during migration in Juneau were two banded Western Sandpipers on May 17 and 18 (PS, BA). Preliminary data indicate that the birds were banded in Panama.

Pectoral Sandpiper. Large numbers were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands during mid-May. The largest estimates were 150 (BA) and 300+ (RG). Both sightings were made on May 17.

Wilson’s Snipe. Two birds that exhibited possible mating behavior were seen on the Mendenhall Wetlands on March 10 (BA, DM).

Ring-billed gull. One adult on April 17 at Fish Creek (PS).

California gull – The first immature was seen May 14 at Eagle Beach (PS).

Glaucous gull – An immature was seen at Eagle Beach on May 22, and probably a different bird was seen on May 25 (PS).

Black-legged kittiwake. The first was seen on April 14 at Point Bridget (PS). Large numbers were first reported on May 14 when 150 at Eagle Beach (PS). At least 10 different color banded kittiwakes were observed through the end of May.

Marbled Murrelet. 1,500 or more birds were seen on March 2, off 33 Mile Cliffs (GV).

Short-eared Owl. Two birds were seen hunting on the Mendenhall Wetlands on March 19 (DDR). Four were reported on March 20 (DR).

Northern Pygmy Owl. One was heard calling on March 2 at 36 mile, another was heard calling on March 16 at 25 mile, and another was heard calling on March 19 and 21 at Auke Bay (GV).

Northern Saw-whet Owl. One was heard calling in March 25 at Auke Bay (GV).

Downy Woodpecker (glacialis supspecies). A male was seen on March 19 and 31 at Auke Bay with barred white dorsal stripe, dingy gray breast with slightly darker gray streaking (including flanks), and dark barring on undertail (GV).

Cassin’s Vireo. First found on May 27 at Sandy Beach (MS), this bird continued to sing and be seen through the end of the count period (m.obs). Other single birds were heard singing in Bonnie Brae Subdivision (PS) and near Moose Lake (RG) on May 30. Three widely-spaced birds in Juneau at the same time is a remarkable occurrence.

Warbling Vireo. A single bird was seen at Sandy Beach May 27 and 29 (MS), and May 31 (PS).

Mountain Bluebird. Peak of 5 on April 14 at Pt Bridget (PS), one female on April 15 on the Mendenhall Wetlands (GV) and 4 on April 25 (PS) and 2 on April 27 at Point Bridget (PS, BA, RG, DM)

Townsend's Solitaire. A peak of 9 on April 25 at Point Bridget (PS), but also 4 on April 27 (PS, BA, RG, DM) and 2 on April 14 at Point Bridget (PS) and 1 at Fish Creek on April 23 (PS). 

Bohemian Waxwings. Four were heard on March 15 at Auke Bay (GV), a quite rare late winter record for Juneau.

Spotted Towhee. The bird that was first seen on November 11 (BA) continued coming to the same feeder on Douglas Island through April 10 (PS). On that day it sang from the top of a tree for the first time, and was not seen thereafter.

Red-winged Blackbird. First male was seen at Pt Bridget on April 14 (PS). A singing male was seen on April 20 in the marsh near the Pioneers Home where this species is believed to have bred in the past (NM). Three birds were seen at the Community Garden on May 26 (BA).

Rusty Blackbird. One on March 2 at 25 mile (GV). Photo by Paul Suchanek

Evening Grosbeak. This bird was heard giving both types of calls at Auke Bay on April 2, but it was not seen (GV).

Pine Siskins and Red Crossbills were numerous throughout the season.

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