At Afognak Wilderness Lodge, we see a lot of wildlife – and the diverse birds of the Kodiak Islands are particularly remarkable. In our last blog, we highlighted a few of our favorite onshore birds – birds you may see when walking through the forests of the island. For this blog, we’ll talk about a few of the birds that could be spotted during our fishing trips or whale watching tours.
Tufted puffins are sometimes called sea parrots – and one look at their colorful beak explains why! The tufted puffin’s most distinct feature is its bright red bill, and white or yellow tufts above the eyes, almost giving it the appearance of wearing a mask. Tufted puffins do fly, but their short wings are highly adapted to diving underwater, where they feed on fish, squid, or other sea invertebrates.
To protect against predation, tufted puffins will choose inaccessible cliffs and other mammal-free areas for breeding. They mate during the month of June, and their eggs are incubated for about 45 days before hatching.
While their name might make them sound a little loony, loons are experts in the water and the air. In the water, they use their feet to propel them at the surface and underwater, they can hold their breath for upwards of 90 seconds! Although their feet are situated at the rear of their body for optimal propulsion in the water, loons can’t walk on land. In the air, loons have been recorded flying over more than 600 miles in a single flight!
Looking out from the shores of Afognak Island, you might see a white-grey bird and assume it’s a gull – but terns also frequent the islands. Terns are similar to gulls but are more slender and lightly built than gulls, making them excellent flyers and skillful fish hunters. In addition, terns produce a wide variety of vocalisations depending on the situation. These birds are relatively free from any direct predators, but unfortunately their numbers have been in a gradual decline due to human disturbances, such as pollution.
Contact Your Afognak Adventure Vacation Lodge
If you’d like to see some of Afognak Island’s offshore birds for yourself, we’d be happy to guide you. Feel free to learn more about birding on Afognak Island, or if you’d like to schedule your own adventure vacation, you can call us at (360) 799-3250 or reach out to us at our contact page. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back for more on the Kodiak Islands and our wonderful wildlife!