30 Diverse Backyard Birds of Alaska You Can Spot at Home

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Backyard Birds of Alaska

Alaska is home to many resident birds and a stopping point for those that breed during the spring and summer. The backyard birds of Alaska that stay during the winter months rely primarily on backyard feeders to get enough food to survive. 

There are a variety of birds living in Alaska, and each has its unique features. This article will review some common birds found at backyard bird feeders, including redpolls, chickadees, nuthatches, finches, and more!

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Backyard Birds of Alaska

According to the latest data from ebird, there are 565 documented species of Birds in Alaska. This data comes from over 474,000 checklists from over 15,700 avid birdwatchers.

Trying to identify and see all 565 may be quite an exciting challenge. We have chosen to focus on the birds you are more likely to see in your home, backyard, or feeders.

Here are some things to know about Backyard Birds in Alaska:

  • 565 documented species
  • The Common Raven is the most common backyard species in Alaska
  • The Black-capped Chickadee is the most common feeder bird in Alaska
  • The Golden-crowned Kinglet is the smallest feeder bird on this list
  • The Common Raven is the largest feeder bird on this list
  • The Downy Woodpecker is the most common Woodpecker in Alaska
  • The Willow Ptarmigan is Alaska’s state bird

What are the Most Common backyard birds in Alaska

  1. Black-capped Chickadee
  2. Common Redpoll
  3. Black-billed Magpie
  4. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  5. Pine Grosbeak
  6. Downy Woodpecker
  7. Hairy Woodpecker
  8. Dark-eyed Junco
  9. Boreal Chickadee
  10. Common Raven
  11. Steller’s Jay
  12. Canada Jay
  13. Pine Siskin
  14. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  15. Bohemian Waxwing
  16. American Robin
  17. Song Sparrow
  18. Brown Creeper
  19. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  20. Northern Shrike
  21. European Starling
  22. White-crowned Sparrow
  23. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  24. White-winged Crossbill
  25. Hoary Redpoll
  26. Varied Thrush
  27. Fox Sparrow
  28. Golden-crowned Sparrow
  29. American Crow
  30. American Tree Sparrow

Top 5 Hotspots for birdwatching in Alaska

If you prefer to venture away from home to do birding, visit one of Alaska’s best hotspots for birdwatching. These hotspots are determined by the number of species observed by fellow birdwatchers in Alaska.

  1. St. Paul Island
  2. Area of Gambell
  3. Gustavus – Forelands
  4. Town of Ketchikan
  5. Middleton Island

Top 30 Backyard birds of Alaska

The list below is determined by the number of bird watchers in Alaska who have seen a species visiting their feeder at least once, divided by the number of bird feeder sites in the state.

1. Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee is the most common backyard bird of Alaska

The Black-Capped Chickadee is a widespread species of bird found throughout the Northern half of North America. They are the most common backyard feeder birds of Alaska and can be seen in the states all year round.

They have a black cap and black throat with white cheeks, and mostly gray-olive feathers on their back with a white chest and belly.

Black-capped Chickadees are tiny in size – with males and females only about 12-15cm (4.7-5.9 inches) long and weighing between 9-14g (0.3-0.5oz). They have a large head and short neck, and long narrow tails with short thick dark bills.

They can survive the harshest winter weather by eating high-calorie foods, fluffing their feathers for insulation, and roosting in tree cavities at night, often in small groups.

The Black-Capped Chickadee is an energetic species that prefers deciduous woods often found in forests or residential areas and parks where plenty of large trees are used for roosting and nesting.

Their diet consists of insects, spiders, small fruits, and seeds, but they are also familiar visitors to backyard bird feeders where they will readily eat sunflower seeds or suet.

They will often make multiple trips to feeders to store extra food in tree crevices throughout the day.

Feeder Type For Black-capped Chickadee’s

  • Large & Small Tube Feeders
  • Large & Small Hoppers
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform feeder

Feeder Food for Black-capped Chickadee’s

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Hulled Sunflower Seed
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Suet
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

2. Common Redpoll

The Common Redpoll is a common bird of Alaska

The Common Redpoll is a small, active finch found throughout the Northern half of America and Canada.

Common Redpolls are about 12-14cm (4.7-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 11-20g (0.4-0.7oz). They have a compact body, short yellowish pointy bill, and short notched tails.

Both males and females have red foreheads and black chins, with a brown and white body that is heavily streaked. Winter males have pale red breast and sides, and winter females have more streaking than the male.

In winter, they breed in the Northern hemisphere from Alaska and Northern Canada, and Greenland. They often move about in large flocks foraging for seeds as they move about.

The Common Redpolls’ preferred habitat is open areas such as pastures with some trees or coniferous forests to find shelter from the Northern winter. They are also found in towns, suburbs, or human settlements where they can find food to survive during the harsh Northern winters.

They feed primarily on seeds they can glean from trees, foliage, or fields in the North and will often visit bird feeders that offer tiny seeds such as nyjer or hulled sunflower seeds.

Feeder Type for Common Redpolls

  • Large & Small Tube Feeder
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food for Common Redpolls

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

3. Black-billed magpie

The Black-billed Mapgie is one of the more common birds of Alaska and can be seen all year round.

The Black-billed Magpie is a large bird found in the Northwestern part of North America. They can be seen in the southern half of Alaska all year round.

Both males and females are 45-60cm (17.7-23.6 inches) long, weigh between 145-210g (5.1-7.4oz), and have a heavy black bill and a long diamond-shaped tail.

The Black Billed Magpie has black feathers on its head, back, and chest with a white belly. The wings are black with white “shoulders”, and glossy blueish-green highlights on their wings and tail.

Their preferred habitat is open grassland with some trees near bodies of water such as rivers or wetlands where they can find shelter from potential predators (or even human threats). They will also visit town parks where there might be a mix of lawns, shrubs, and brushy areas.

The Black Billed Magpie is an opportunistic scavenger that feeds on various items such as insects, carrion, seeds, fruit, and other birds’ eggs or young. They typically forage on the ground and often store food in various locations.

They are common at bird feeders in the west, where they will eat most anything that is put out for them (even if it’s not their preferred diet). Platform and Suet feeders are a favorite of the magpie.

Feeder Type for Black Billed Magpie

  • Platform Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food For Black Billed Magpie

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanuts Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Millet & Milo

4. Red-breasted nuthatch

Birds of Alaska: Red-Breasted Nuthatch

The red-breasted nuthatch is a small songbird found across most of North America and much of Canada. They are mostly seen along the southern Alaskan coast all year round.

Both males and females are about 11-12cm (4.3 inches) long and weigh between 8-13g (0.3-0.5oz). They have a long, pointy bill, short, broad wings, and very short tails.

Both sexes are blueish-gray above and reddish-cinnamon below. Their heads are striped with a black cap, white eyebrows, a black line through the eye, and finally, white cheeks. Very similar looking to the white-breasted nuthatch.

Red-breasted nuthatches can be found in coniferous forests such as spruce and fir, where they like to forage on the trunks and branches. They are very energetic and acrobatic birds and can often be seen hanging upside down while searching for food.

Their diet is primarily insects and spiders they glean from trees and bark in the summer and eat seeds in the winter.

They are also familiar visitors to backyard bird feeders where they eat seeds and suet.

Feeder Type For Red-breasted Nuthatches

  • Large and Small Tube Feeders
  • Large and Small Hoppers
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Red-breasted Nuthatches

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

5. Pine Grosbeak

Birds in Alaska: Pine Grosbeak

The Pine Grosbeak is a large finch found throughout much of the Northern part of North America, mainly parts of Canada. They can be seen in Alaska all year round.

They can also be found at higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains regions year-round. They are heavier than most other finches and have a thick conical bill, round head, and long-notch tail.

Both males and females are about 20-25cm (7.9-9.8 inches) long and weigh around 52-78g (1.8-2.8oz). The male has a beautiful bright red head and chest, and the female has a reddish-orange or yellow head and chest. Both males and females are a dark gray above and below with two white wingbars.

They prefer coniferous forests such as spruce, fir, and pine trees but can also be found in mixed deciduous forests. They forage on the ground and in trees for seeds, berries, and insects.

Pine Grosbeaks are primarily seed-eaters but will also take berries or insects when available. They are common at backyard bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, thistle, or nyjer seeds in winter.

Feeder Type For Pine Grosbeaks

  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Pine Grosbeaks

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Fruit

6. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a common bird in Alaska that can be seen all year round

The Downy Woodpecker is a small bird with black and white feathers. They are smaller than most woodpeckers at about 14-17cm (5.5-6.7 inches) long and have a petite-looking bill compared to their other woodpecker relatives. They can be seen in the western half of Alaska all year round.

Downy Woodpeckers weigh between 21-28g (0.7-1oz) and have a black back and white stripe down the middle. They are white below, and their wings have a checkered black and white detailing them.

The males have a red patch at the back of the head, and females have a black head.

Their beaks are short, solid, and pointed at the end, which they use to chisel wood for excavation or peck at the bark to find food underneath.

Their preferred habitat is wooded areas with plenty of trees near rivers, ponds, or wetlands – even urban areas with a mix of grasslands, shrubs, and woodlands.

They are acrobatic foragers whose main diet consists of insects it can glean and probe from trees. They will also eat seeds, berries, or fruit when needed and are more common at bird feeders than their larger relatives.

They prefer suet feeders and enjoy black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, peanut butter, seeds, and millet.

Feeder Type For Downy Woodpeckers

  • Suet Cage
  • Large & Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Downy Woodpeckers

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

7. Hairy Woodpecker

Birds of Alaska: Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker found throughout North America and Southern Canada, and can be seen in Alaska all year round.

The hairy woodpecker has a long chisel-like bill and long stiff tail feathers. Males and Females are about 18-26cm (7.1-10.2 inches) long and weigh around 40-95g (1.4-3.4oz).

They have black-and-white feathers: black back checkered with a white, white stripe down the middle back, and white below.

The male has a red patch on the back of its head, while the female does not. They get their name from the “hairy” quality of the white on their backs.

They live in various habitats, including woodlands, bottomland forests, wooded suburbs, and parks. They will actively probe and drill into wood to look for insects under the bark.

They will also feed on fallen or rotting logs to chisel through dead wood to find insect larvae. They will also eat fruits and seeds when given a chance.

They are common at backyard bird feeders that offer suet, sunflower seeds, or peanut butter mixed with birdseed.

Feeder Type For Hairy Woodpeckers

  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Hairy Woodpeckers

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

8. Dark-eyed junco

The Dark-eyed Junco is a comon backyard Bird of Alaska

The Dark-Eyed Junco is a medium-sized bird with a round head, short conical bill., and long tail. These Sparrows are found in the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to Newfoundland. They can mostly be seen during the breeding season in Alaska.

Males and Females are about 14-16cm (5.5-6.3 inches) long and weigh between 18-30g (0.6-1.1oz).

The Dark-Eyed Junco varies in color depending on what region you are in but are mainly dark gray or brown with a light/pale pink bill and white outer tail feathers that are noticeable in flight.

The three most common sub-types and colors are:

  • Slate-colored Junco – Alaska, and East of the Rocky Mountains
  • Oregon Junco – Northern Rockies and Farther West
  • Gray-headed Junco – Southern Rockies

They live in coniferous forests, woodlands, scrubland, and tundra across the United States and Canada. You are more likely to find them in open areas like backyards, fields, and parks in winter.

They are ground foragers and eat insects, seeds, and berries. They eat mostly insects in the spring and summer and seeds and berries in the fall and winter.

They are also expected at backyard bird feeders in the winter, especially ones that offer sunflower seeds, millet, or cracked corn.

Feeder Type For Dark-eyed Junco

  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Type For Dark-eyed Junco

  • Black Oil Sunflower seed
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

9. Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee is a Bird in Alaska that can be seen all year round

The Boreal Chickadee is a small songbird found in North America, but almost exclusively in Canada and Alaska.

Males and Females are about 12-14cm (4.9-5.5 inches) long, weigh between 7-12.5g (0.3-0.4oz), and have a husky-looking body and a long slim tail.

The Boreal Chickadee is grayish-brown above and white below with a brown cap and black bib. They have white cheeks and rusty-pink sides.

Boreal Chickadees live in coniferous forests, woodlands, and scrubland year-round in Canada and Alaska. They feed primarily on insects and some seeds and cache seeds and insects before winter to help them survive the harsh winter climates.

They are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders, especially if they offer sunflower seeds, suet, or mealworms during the winter months.

Feeder Type For Boreal Chickadees

  • Large and Small Tube Feeder
  • Large and Small Hoppers
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Boreal Chickadees

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

10. Common Raven

The common raven is one of the most common birds of Alaska and can be seen all year round

The Common Raven is a large passerine bird in North America. It is most abundant on the west side of the United States and most of Canada. They are very common all year round throughout Alaska.

Males and Females are about 56-69cm (22.1-27.2 inches) long and weigh around 690-1625g (24.3-57.3oz).

Their plumage is black all over (legs, eyes, and beak included) with a thick neck and a stout bill. Their throat feathers have a ruffled or shaggy appearance.

The Common Raven also has long wings and a wedge-shaped tail that helps it fly and soar with ease.

They are found in various habitats, including forests, mountains, deserts, and coastal areas in the west and Northernmost part of North America.

They are also common around towns and cities where food can be scavenged easily (Landfills, waste areas, etc.).

Ravens are often seen perched on trees or utility poles to observe the surrounding area. They are extremely intelligent and will follow other birds, including eagles, to scavenge their kills or steal eggs from nests.

Ravens also have a complex vocal system that they use for communication with each other.

They are omnivorous and opportunistic scavengers that primarily feed on animal matter such as carrion (or human garbage), dead animals, small fledgling birds, bird eggs, large insects, and some grain or fruit.

Ravens are common at backyard bird feeders that offer suet, peanuts, peanut butter mixed with birdseed, or bread. They are very aggressive birds and often dominate other smaller birds at backyard feeders.

Feeder Type For Ravens

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Ravens

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts

11. Steller’s Jay

Steller's Jay. This bird of Alaska can be seen  on the southern coast of Alaska all year round

Steller’s Jay is a large songbird that lives in North America. They are most abundant in the western United States and Canada. They can be seen on the southern coast of Alaska all year round.

Males and Females are about 30-34cm (11.8-13.4 inches) long and weigh between 100-140g (3.5-4.9oz). These Jays have large heads, rounded wings, and long tails. They also have a prominent crest on their heads and a strong, long, straight bill.

They have blue feathers on most of their bodies, black feathers on their head, and grayish shoulders. Some will have blue or white lines on their crown, depending on the region.

They prefer coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests commonly found on the west coast of North America, which includes suburban areas such as backyards, picnic areas, and campgrounds.

They are bold, intelligent, curious omnivores that forage on the ground or among tree branches for insects, baby birds, bird eggs, fruit, nuts, acorns, and seeds.

They are common at backyard bird feeders that offer sunflowers seeds, peanuts, peanut butter mixed with birdseed, or bread.

Feeder Type For Steller’s Jay

  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Steller’s Jay

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Millet and Milo
  • Mealworms

12. Canada Jay

The Canada Jay is a resident bird of Alaska that can be seen all year round.

The Canada Jay is a large Jay that lives in Northern North America. They are most abundant in Northern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alaska all year round.

Males and Females are about 25-29cm (9.8-11.4 inches) long and weigh between 58-84g (2-3oz). They have round heads and a short, stocky bill. They have long tails and broad wings, and no crest.

The Canada Jay is grayish above, paler below with black on the back of their heads. They have a white throat and breast, which becomes more pronounced in the winter.

Canada Jays are found in evergreen forests and open woodlands, shrub thickets, residential areas, and agricultural land.

They are omnivorous birds that will forage mainly on the ground or in small trees for just about anything they fancy, such as seeds, berries, fruits, and even small animals.

They frequently use backyard bird feeders that offer any type of feeder food within their range, especially on tube, ground, or platform feeders.

Feeder Type For Canada Jays

  • Large Tube Feeder
  • Platform feeder
  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Canada Jays

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Mealworms

13. Pine Siskin

The Pine Siskin can be seen in Alaska during the breeding season

The Pine Siskin is a small finch with a sharply pointed bill and a short notched tail. They are widespread throughout North America and some parts of Canada and Mexico. They are mainly seen in the southern areas of Alaska during their breeding season.

Both males and females are about 11-14cm (4.3-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 12-18g (0.4-0.6oz). Both males and females are brown, with dark streaking throughout their bodies. 

They are slightly darker above and paler below with two whitish-yellow wing bars. A yellow wing stripe can be seen during flight but is more difficult to see when perched.

They prefer open coniferous forests where they can forage in trees, looking for seeds among needles of the branches. Pine siskins are social birds and often travel in a few hundred birds flocks.

They are very active and can be seen hopping around on the ground or flying quickly from tree to tree.

Pine siskins eat seeds almost exclusively but will take insects or larvae when available if seeds are not readily accessible. They are also frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, or nyjer seeds.

Feeder Type For Pine Siskins

  • Large & Small Tube Feeder
  • Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Pine Siskins

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

14. Chestnut-backed chickadee

The Chestnut-backed Chickadee is a bird in Alaska most commonly seen on the southern coast all year round

The Chestnut-backed Chickadee is a tiny bird found in North America, but almost exclusively along the west coast of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and southern coast of Alaska.

Males and Females are about 10-12cm (3.9-4.7 inches) long and weigh between 7-12g (0.3-0.4oz). They are the smallest and shortest-tailed chickadee and have short rounded wings.

They have a black and white head with white cheeks and a brown-chestnut-colored back. Depending on the region, they can either have brown-chestnut (Northern California and up) or duller gray sides (Central and Southern California).

Chestnut-backed Chickadees live in coniferous forests, woodlands, scrubland, parks, and suburbs year-round on the Pacific coast. They eat primarily insects they can glean from foliage and often supplement their diet with seeds, fruit, and berries.

They are common backyard birds that will visit bird feeders, especially if the feeder offers sunflower seeds or suet during the winter months.

Feeder Type For Chestnut-backed Chickadees

  • Large and Small Tube Feeders
  • Large and Small Hoppers
  • Suet Cage
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Chestnut-backed Chickadees

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Suet
  • Peanuts and Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

15. Bohemian Waxwing

The beautiful bohemian waxwing is commonly seen during the breeding season in Alaska

The Bohemian Waxwing is a medium-sized bird found in North America, but almost exclusively in the colder northern climates. These beautiful birds can be seen throughout Alaska during their breeding season (Summer in North America).

Males and Females are about 16-19cm (6.3-7.5 inches) long and weigh between 45-69g (1.6-2.4oz). They have a plump body with a short, broad tail and broad wings.

They are generally grayish-brown in color with a black mask and shades of peach around their heads.

Their wings have white notched tips and distinctive red wax tips on their wings that are only visible when they spread their wings out.

The tail is tipped with yellow, and they have a dark rufous color under their tail.

Bohemian Waxwings live in open habitats such as forests, parks, gardens, and suburbs year-round across Canada, Alaska, and the Northern United States.

They are social and form large flocks of a hundred or more birds during the search for food in the winter.

They eat mostly fruit in the winter but also eat insects, primarily in the summer months. They are familiar with backyards with shrubs or fruit trees in the fall and winter and will visit bird feeders during winter if the feeder offers suet or fruit.

Feeder Type For Bohemian Waxwings

  • Platform Feeder
  • Suet Cage

Feeder Food For Bohemian Waxwings

  • Fruit
  • Suet (with Fruit)

16. American Robin

Birds of Alaska: American Robin

The American Robin is a common species of bird found throughout North America, with adults generally weighing between 77-85g (2.7-3oz). These bids can be seen all over Alaska during their breeding season.

American Robins have a distinctive orange chest with black spots; however, their backs’ feathers are brownish gray. Their beaks are tiny but comprehensive at the base, giving them a very distinct appearance.

The American Robin is known to poke around in leaf litter, looking for insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and earthworms to eat in the summer months. They prefer berries or fruit during the autumn and winter months.

They are also known for being very friendly birds found at most bird feeders and prefer feeders that offer live mealworms.

Feeder Type For American Robins

  • Platform feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For American Robins

  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Mealworms

17. Song Sparrow

The song sparrow is most seen along the southern coast of Alaska.

The Song Sparrow is a medium-sized sparrow found throughout North America, and along the southern coast of Alaska. They have relatively long, rounded tails and broad wings.

Males and Females are about 12-17cm (4.7-6.7 inches) long and weigh between 12-53g (0.4-1.9oz). Song Sparrows are generally brown above with brown streaking on white below. They have a reddish-brown crown, a pale gray eyebrow, and a brown streak through the eye.

They live in most open areas such as forests edges, scrublands, wetlands, marshes, farmlands, and grasslands year-round in North America.

They mainly eat insects in the spring and summer and seeds and berries the rest of the year.

Song Sparrows are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders if the feeder offers cracked corn or millet and over some good cover. They prefer seeds scattered on the ground or a platform feeder.

Feeder Type For Song Sparrows

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Song Sparrows

  • Black Oil and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Safflower
  • Nyjer
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet and Milo

18. Brown Creeper

The Brown Creeper is a year round resident bird in Alaska

The Brown Creeper is a small brown bird with a spiked-tipped tail and a thin, curved bill. They are found throughout North America and parts of Central America, and most common in southern Alaska year round.

Males and Females are about 12-14cm (4.7-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 5-10g 0.2-0.3oz). They are a streaked brown above and white below (difficult to see when it is hidden against a tree).

It uses its spiked-tipped tail to prop itself up against tree trunks as they climb.

They live year-round across most of Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland, and in the United States from Alaska to California, east to Maine, and south through Mexico.

Brown Creepers can be found in various forest habitats, including coniferous forests, mixed hardwood-coniferous forests, deciduous forests, riparian corridors, and even suburban parks.

They are primarily insectivores and eat spiders, seeds, and berries. They forage by climbing up tree trunks looking out for food, or gleaning food from branches and leaves.

Brown creepers are common backyard birds that can often be seen at feeders that offer suet or peanut butter and prefer to feed on the ground.

Feeder Type For Brown Creepers

Suet Cage

Feeder Food For Brown Creepers

  • Suet
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Peanut Hearts

19. Sharp-shinned hawk

Bird of Alaska: Sharp-shinned Hawk

The Sharp-shinned hawk is a small raptor with short, rounded wings and a long tail. They are found throughout North and Central America. They are found year round on the southern coast of Alaska and in the interior during breeding season.

Males and Females are about 24-34cm (9.4-13.4 inches) long and weigh between 87-218g (3.1-7.7oz). They are just a bit larger than a Jay ad the females are noticeably large than the males.

They are bluish-gray above and reddish-orange below with a darker cap.

They live in various habitats, including woodland edges, suburban areas, parks, open fields, and agricultural land from Canada to Southern Mexico.

Sharp-shinned hawks eat mostly songbirds and consume small mammals such as mice, rats, and squirrels. They ambush their prey by hiding in trees and pouncing on their unsuspecting victim.

They are common backyard birds that can often be seen perched on a tree branch or flying overhead.

Sharp-shinned hawks prefer to feed on live prey and visit bird feeders that have attracted small mammals or songbirds.

20. Northern Shrike

The Northern Shrike is a predatory bird in Alaska

The Northern Shrike is a large, predatory songbird with a large round head, short wings, a long round tail, and a hooked bill.

They are found in the Northern Half of North America, including most of Canada. They are year round residents on the southern coast of Alaska and can be found in the interior during the breeding season.

Males and Females are about 23-24cm (9.1-9.4 inches) long and weigh between 56-79g (2-2.8oz).

They are gray above, a paler gray below, and have a black mask extending from the beak to the eyes. They have black wings and a black tail with white edges.

They live in open habitats such as tundra, prairies, meadows, agricultural fields, and suburban areas across Canada, Alaska, northern United States.

Northern shrikes eat birds and small rodents such as mice, rats, and voles primarily and will also consume reptiles and insects. They will often cache or store their prey by impaling them on thorns or barbed wire to make it easier to eat.

Northern Shrikes are common backyard birds that can often be seen perched on a tree branch or flying overhead. Northern Shrikes prefer to feed on live prey and visit bird feeders that have attracted small mammals or songbirds.

21. European Starling

The European Starling, also known as the Common Starling or just simply Starling, is a loud, boisterous bird that can be found throughout most of North America, Europe, and parts of Asia to North Africa in wintertime.

Their breeding plumage is a glossy purplish-green with yellow beaks, and winter plumage is brown with white spots and a black bill.

European Starling is roughly the size of a Robin at about 20-23cm (7.9-9.1 inches) long and weighing around 60-96g (2.1-3.4oz). They have short wings which allow for a quick flight and a short tail. They have a long, slender bill and legs that are pinkish.

European Starlings winter in large flocks – often roosting with other bird species such as Blackbirds or Fieldfares to keep warm at night.

They are opportunistic feeders that mainly eat insects and feed on berries, seeds, and grains. They are known to visit bird feeders in backyards to eat almost any type of food available – including suet mixes or peanuts.

They prefer open areas such as pastures with short grasses but may also be found around farmlands feeding on spilled grain during harvest season.

Their preferred habitat is open, grassy areas with some trees, but they can also be found in towns, suburbs, or human settlements out in the countryside.

Feeder Type For European Starlings

  • Large Tube feeder
  • Suet Cage
  • Large Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For European Starlings

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

22. White-crowned sparrow

The White-crowned Sparrow is only seen in Alaska during the birds breeding season.

The White-crowned Sparrow is a medium-large-sized sparrow found throughout North America. They can only be seen in Alaska during their breeding season (Spring and Summer). They have relatively long tails and short pointed bills.

Males and Females are about 15-16cm (5.9-6.3 inches) long and weigh between 25-28g (0.9-1.0oz). Their bill can vary from pink to orange to yellow, depending on the subspecies and geographic location.

Their color is generally grayish-brown and has a distinctive bland and white striped crown.

They live in most open areas such as forest edges, scrublands, wetlands, marshes, farmlands, grasslands year-round in North America. They breed primarily in Canada during the summer and migrate south to the United States in winter.

White-crowned Sparrows eat mainly insects in the summer and seeds and berries the rest of the year.

They are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders if they offer cracked corn or millet. They prefer seeds scattered on the ground or a platform feeder.

Feeder Type For White-crowned Sparrows

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For White-crowned Sparrows

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Cracked Corn
  • Millet
  • Milo

23. Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Common birds of Alaska most commonly seen on the southern coast year round

The Golden-crowned Kinglet is a small perching bird found throughout North America. They can be seen on the southern coast of Alaska all year round.

They have short tails, short wings, and a short, thin bill perfectly suited for catching small insects.

Males and Females are about 8-11cm (3.1-4.3 inches) tall and weigh between 4-8g (0.1-0.3oz).

Their color is generally grayish-olive above and paler below, dark wings with two white wingbars.

They have a black and white striped head with a bright yellow patch on their crown. The male has a reddish-orange center inside the yellow crown.

They breed in mostly coniferous forests, with most of their populations breeding during the summer months across Canada and Alaska.

They migrate south to the United States for winter, where they can be found in various forested areas, including wooded towns, suburbs, and parks.

Golden-crowned Kinglets eat insects almost exclusively all year long and eat small amounts of fruit during the winter months. They typically glean insects and spiders from foliage and bark.

They are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders if they offer a variety of small insects or suet.

Feeder Type For Golden-crowned Kinglets

  • Suet Cage
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Golden-crowned Kinglets

  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Mealworms

24. White-winged crossbill

Bird of Alaska: White-winged Crossbill

The White-winged Crossbill is a medium-sized finch found primarily in the Northern half of North America, including Canada and Alaska year round. They have short tails, short wings, and a long, thick crossed bill.

Males and Females are about 15-17cm (5.9-6.7 inches) tall and weigh between 24-26g (0.8-0.9oz).

Males are a pinkish color with black wings and two white wingbars. Females have the same wing coloration but are yellowish instead of pink in the males.

They live in boreal forests year-round in North America and spruce or hemlock forests and weedy fields.

White-Winged Crossbills migrate south to the United States for the winter, where they can be found in various forested areas, including wooded towns, suburbs, and parks.

White-Winged Crossbills eat mostly seeds year-round and consume insects during the summer months.

They are common backyard birds that visit bird feeders if they offer a variety of tiny seeds.

Feeder Type For White-winged Crossbills

  • Large and Small Tube Feeder
  • Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For White-winged Crossbills

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer Seeds

25. Hoary Redpoll

The Hoary Redpoll is a common bird of Alaska

The Hoary Redpoll is a small, pale finch found more commonly in Canada and Alaska. They have short notchy tails, short wings, and a small pointy bill.

Males and females are about 12-14cm (4.7-5.5 inches) long and weigh between 11-20g (0.4-0.7oz).

Their coloration is primarily white, with some brown streaking on their head, back, and flanks. They have a red spot in the front of their head just above their bill.

They live mainly in the Canadian Tundra, where there are many shrubs and crevices for them to find shelter from the cold.

Hoary Redpolls will occasionally spend their non-breeding season in Southern Canada, where they can be found in various habitats, including towns, fields, suburbs, and parks.

Like the Common Redpoll, they feed primarily on seeds they can glean from trees, foliage, or fields in the North and will often visit bird feeders that offer tiny seeds such as nyjer or hulled sunflower seeds.

Feeder Type For Hoary Redpolls

  • Large and Small Tube Feeder
  • Large and Small Hopper
  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For Hoary Redpolls

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer

26. Varied Thrush

The Varied Thrush is a large thrush in western North America, in forests along the Pacific coast, and can be seen in Alaska during the summer breeding season.

Males and females are about 19-26cm (7.5-10.2 inches) long and weigh between 65-100g (2.3-3.5oz). They have a plump body with a large head, long legs, a short tail, and a straight bill.

Male Varied Thrushes are bluish-gray above and orange below. They have a black band across their chest and an orange eyebrow that goes down the back of the neck.

They have an intricate orange and black pattern on their wings. Females have the same coloring but are grayish-brown above, and the orange colors are not as rich or intense.

They live primarily in moist coniferous forests on the pacific coast most of the year and suburban parks and gardens during winter months.

Varied thrushes eat insects and spiders primarily and consume fruit, berries, and seeds in winter.

Fruits and berries make up the majority of their food and winter. They forage on the ground under leaves and dense vegetation by flicking and tossing debris around.

Varied thrushes can be found visiting backyards and feeders in winter that offer mealworms, sunflower seeds (hulled or shelled), fruits, and berries from platform or ground feeders.

Feeder Type For Varied Thrush

  • Ground
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Varied Thrush

  • Mealworms
  • Fruits
  • Sunflowers Seeds
  • Suet

27. Fox Sparrow

The Fox Sparrow is a large-sized sparrow that lives in various habitats in North America, and is a resident of Alaska during the warmer breeding season.

Males and females are about 15-19cm (5.9-7.5 inches) long and weigh around 26-44g (0.9-1.6oz). They have a round body, medium-length tail, and thick bill.

Fox Sparrow’s plumage varies depending on the region, but they all have white underparts with heavily marked triangular spots that get bigger the closer to the breast. Their heads typically have a mix of gray and regional colors.

“Red” Fox Sparrows – Found in the East

“Slate-Colored” Fox Sparrow – Found in the Rockies and great basin

“Sooty” Fox Sparrow – Found in Pacific Northwest

They live in various habitats across North America but will typically be seen in the undergrowth of dense trees or shrubs in backyards during the winter months. They do not usually venture far from cover.

Fox Sparrows eat seeds primarily but eat insects in the summer months. They forage mainly on the ground by kicking or flicking leaf litter about to find their food.

Fox Sparrows can be found in backyards with dense undergrowth and will often visit bird feeders that offer a variety of seeds.

Feeder Type For Fox Sparrows

  • Ground
  • Platform Feeder

Feeder Food For Fox Sparrows

  • Sunflower Seeds (Black Oil or Hulled)
  • Milo
  • Millet
  • Nyjer Seeds
  • Cracked Corn

28. Golden-crowned Sparrow

The Golden-crowned Sparrow is a large sparrow found along North America and Mexico’s west coast. They can be seen in Alaska during the summer breeding season.

Males and females are about 15-18cm (5.9 to 7 inches) long and weigh around 20-35g (0.6 to 01.25 oz). They have a small head, a long tail, and a short, stout bill.

Golden-crowned Sparrows have streaked brown above and gray below. Breeding adults have a gray face and a black cap with a bright yellow forecrown. Non-breeding or winter adults have a brownish face and cap, with a duller yellow forecrown.

Golden-crowned Sparrows can be found in open woodlands, chaparral, edge forests, and gardens. They prefer areas with dense vegetation for nesting but will also use open spaces if available.

Golden-crowned Sparrows are omnivorous and eat a variety of insects, berries, and seeds.

They have been known to visit bird feeders that offer sunflower seeds, cracked corn, or thistle seed.

Feeder Type For Golden-crowned Sparrows

  • Ground
  • Platform feeder

Feeder Food For Golden-crowned Sparrows

  • Nyjer
  • Milllet and Milo
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cracked Corn
  • Peanut hearts

29. American Crow

The American Crow is a large bird found throughout most of North America, except in some areas in the southern United States along the border with Mexico. They can be seen along the south coast of Alaska all year round.

American Crows are large at about 40-53cm (115.8-21 inches) long and weigh between 316-620g (11.2-22oz). They are black all over, including their legs, feet, bill, and eyes.

They have a very distinct, short tail with broad wings that allow for a quick flight. They are known to be brilliant birds – able to use tools to obtain the food they otherwise couldn’t reach.

Their preferred habitat is open areas such as pastures with some trees – either deciduous or coniferous to roost at night when they sleep.

They will often be found in urban areas where food is plentiful – for example, at dumpsters behind supermarkets or garbage bins.

They are omnivores and very opportunistic and will eat small mammals, insects, and amphibians but may also be found eating fruits or grain in the wintertime when other food sources are scarce.

We have even personally seen crows stealing chicks from other nests and flying away to eat them.

Not your typical visitor to backyard bird feeders but may hang around yards that offer a compost heap, easy access to garbage, or pet food lying around.

Feeder Type For American Crows

  • Platform Feeder
  • Ground

Feeder Food For American Crows

  • Black Oil & Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • Suet
  • Cracker Corn
  • Peanuts & Peanut Hearts
  • Fruit
  • Millet & Milo
  • Oats

30. American Tree Sparrow

The American Tree Sparrow is a small sparrow found throughout North America and is a resident of Alaska during the summer breeding season.

Males and females are about 13-14cm (5.5 inches) long and weigh around 13-28g (0.5-1.0oz). They have a long, thin tail, a small bill, and a small head.

Their bill is bicolored, which is dark above and yellow below. They have a rusty-colored cap, a rusty eye line, and a rusty-colored striped back. Their wings have two white wing bars, and their underparts are primarily gray with some pale brown coloration on their sides and breast.

American Tree Sparrows can be found in open areas near woods, gardens, or parks during the warmer months and move to more dense areas such as weedy fields, shrubs, and forest edges during the colder months.

They breed in the far north of Canada and spend their winter migration below the Canadian border.

They eat mostly seeds in winter and insects during the summer months. They forage mainly on the ground but can also be seen in bushes or trees.

American Tree Sparrows frequently visit bird feeders in the winter that offer black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer thistle, or millet.

Feeder Type For American Tree Sparrows

  • Ground
  • Platform Feeder
  • Large hopper

Feeder Food For American Tree Sparrows

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Nyjer
  • Peanut Hearts
  • Millet

What Birds are found In Alaska all-year-round?

  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Common Redpoll (Southern Alaska)
  • Black-billed Magpie (Southern Alaska)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (Southern Coast)
  • Pine Grosbeak
  • Downy Woodpecker (Western Alaska)
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Common Raven
  • Steller’s Jay (Southern Coast)
  • Canada Jay
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Southern Coast)
  • Song Sparrow (Southern Coast)
  • Brown Creeper (Southern Alaska)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (Southern Coast)
  • Northern Shrike (Southern Coast)
  • European Starling (Eastern Alaska)
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet (Southern Coast)
  • White-winged Crossbill

What Birds are found In Alaska during the summer?

Most of the birds we have listed above are year-round residents of specific areas in Alaska. Still, because Alaska has such a diverse climate, some choose to spend their summer in a different region of Alaska while others fly in from out of state to spend their summers in Alaska.

Some species who fly in from another state include the Bohemian Waxwing and the white-crowned Sparrow.

Below is a list of the birds who spend their summers in a different Alaska region:

  • Common Redpoll (Northern Alaska)
  • Dark-eyed Junco (Northern Alaska)
  • Pine Siskin (Southern Interior)
  • American Robin (Interior and Northern Alaska)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (Interior)
  • Northern Shrike (Interior)
  • Hoary Redpoll (Northern Alaska)

Birds To Spot Beyond The Backyard In Alaska

When you decide to venture away from your home to do some birdwatching, these are some of the other birds to look out for:

  1. Willow Ptarmigan
  2. Crested Auklet
  3. Short-tailed Shearwater
  4. King Eider
  5. Herring Gull
  6. Tufted Puffin
  7. Horned Puffin
  8. Black-bellied Plover
  9. Bank Swallow
  10. Bald Eagle
  11. Hermit Thrush
  12. Varied Thrush
  13. Snow Bunting
  14. Green-winged Teal
  15. Fox Sparrow
  16. Savannah Sparrow
  17. Rusty Blackbird
  18. Violet-green Sparrow
  19. White-winged Crossbill
  20. Cliff Swallow
  21. Golden Eagle
  22. Red-tailed Hawk
  23. Barn Swallow
  24. Red Crossbill
  25. Rough-legged Hawk
  26. Pacific Wren
  27. Swainson’s Thrush
  28. Rufous Hummingbird
  29. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  30. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  31. Northern Harrier

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What birds are found in Alaska?

Some of the most common backyard birds seen in Alaska include the Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Common Redpoll, black-billed Magpie, Pine Grosbeak, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Dark-eyed Junco.

What is the most common backyard bird seen in Alaska?

The most common backyard bird seen in Alaska is the Black-capped Chickadee.

What is the State Bird of Alaska?

The Alaska State bird is the Willow Ptarmigan.

How many species of birds have been seen in Alaska?

To date, 565 species have been observed in Alaska.

What birds stay in Alaska for the winter?

Most birds in Alaska are year-round residents, but some typically spend their winter in another area of Alaska instead of flying out of state. The Hoary Redpoll is one such bird that moves to The interior of Alaska for winter.

What birds of prey live in Alaska?

Common birds of prey in Alaska include the Bald Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Steller’s Sea Eagle, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Barred Owl, and Snowy Owl.

Keep an Eye out for the backyard birds of Alaska

We hope you enjoyed this list of birds found in Alaska. We’ve provided some information about the most common birds at backyard feeders, as well as a few other interesting facts to help make your bird watching experience more enjoyable and rewarding!

We would love to hear from you about your favorite bird watching spots or experiences in Alaska.

Please share with us in the comments below or on our social media pages. Don’t forget to also check out our other blog posts for more information about birds and nature.

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Author
I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

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