One of our greatest joys living in remote Alaska is the abundance of migratory and resident birds, large and small, at both of our lodges. Even if you aren’t a “big year” birder, the joy in spotting the many different species of Alaska birds can be an unexpected thrill. We even have checklists!

Winterlake Lodge

Winterlake Lodge keeps a bird feeder active all through the winter months. We sit on the deck or by the fire and watch the raucous interactions of Pine Grosbeaks, Golden-crowned sparrows, and a hundred other tiny winged friends gracing the front yard overlooking the frozen lake. In the summertime, Red-throated Loons, which have a haunting cry, nest on the small island on our lake and we celebrate when new babies are sported around later in the summer. Trumpeter swans nest here also. Although elusive, we can quietly watch them gracefully float along Red Creek behind the main lodge.

Although American bald eagles are not as common here as they are at Tutka Bay, we still see them swooping along the yard from time to time. Spruce grouse startle along the trails in the fall and multiple cacophonies of Sandhill cranes fly overhead on their annual migrations.

Red-breasted nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, Common Redpole, Common Raven (there’s a fantastic book about ravens in the lodge library) are all on our Winterlake Lodge checklist. See how many you can sight during your stay!

Tutka Bay Lodge

We start our Tutka Bay Lodge bird season officially with Homer’s Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival held in May, Alaska’s largest wildlife-viewing festival. The event celebrates the many thousands of shorebirds and other species that can be seen here at the height of spring migration. Just a few of these birds are Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, all three scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Pacific Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Pelagic Cormorant, Bald Eagle, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, and Marbled Murrelet.

More than 25 species of shorebirds are often found in May, including Black Oystercatcher, Pacific Golden-Plover, Wandering Tattler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Rock Sandpiper, and Red-necked Phalarope.

Throughout the summer, we take boat trips from the lodge to Gull Island, a famed nesting area for birds about 30 minutes away, summer home to 15,000 birds. Some of the birds we see are Red-faced Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelet, Horned Puffin, and Tufted Puffin.

Our lodge property is home to nesting American Eagles, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Steller’s Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Varied Thrush, Fox Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, and Common Redpoll.

And, the Rufus Hummingbirds… in early summer, they swarm around the decks like crazy!