USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Bird Checklists of the United States

Birds of the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

Nome, Alaska

Birding on the Seward Peninsula

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, lying on the northern Seward Peninsula, is a treeless expanse of tundra. The landscape is sprinkled with lakes, bare rocky ridges, and patches of low-growing willow shrub. This land is home to a variety of arctic and subarctic wildlife including moose, grizzly bear, muskox and caribou. The region is also an extremely valuable nesting area for many bird species including most North American waterfowl. All five loons are documented nesters and several Asian accidentals probably nest here. For more information on the preserve, write to Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, P.O. Box 220, Nome, AK 99762 or call (907)443-2522 (Check our website at

Virtually the entire area of the Seward Peninsula that is accessible by road from Nome is comprised of the same habitat types as are found within the preserve. Some species on this bird list are more common within the preserve than in the southern part of the peninsula, but all may be seen along the road system if you're lucky.

The best time for birding on the Seward Peninsula is normally the week of June 1st. At that time, the melting ice along the southern Seward Peninsula forms migrant traps and birding from the road system is most productive. Shorebirds and waterfowl are confined to the margins of ponds near the shoreline where they can be easily seen. This is also the time of year when changing weather systems bring large numbers of accidentals to this area. Some species, however, such as the Snowy Bunting, are best seen in late March and are difficult to find during the summer.

This checklist was assembled from reliable reports and personal observations. Most species listed are those that are likely to be seen in any given year. Not all accidentals or casuals will be seen every year and there may be some species that make it to the area, but are not on this list. In the ten years I have been in Nome, I have seen a turkey vulture and a western tanager collected within 15 miles of Nome. There are also a number of species, rare here, that are similar to common summer residents to this area. For instance, the Gray Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail are similar in size, shape and coloration. With the light variations in this area, back color is not diagnostic on this bird. You would need to verify throat color to accurately distinguish between the two species.

The abundance information provided here is based on the likelihood that birders will find a species along the road system or with a reasonable walk. Pelagic species and sea birds nest in several areas throughout the region, but all are some distance from the area accessible by road. These birds are most likely to be seen flying over the water, especially in early spring.

Please share your sighting with us here at the preserve so that we may help others to enjoy the birding resources of this region. We are interested in any sightings of birds listed as unusual, rare, casual or accidental.

Key to Abundance Descriptors

abundant: This species is normally here in numbers and several should be seen most days.

common: This species is normally present and should be found most days with a little work.

uncommon: Normally present, but hard to find. You can locate this species if you're in the right habitat.

rare: Present most years, but difficult to find or present but will require a lot of work to see.

1    This species is an infrequent visitor to the Seward peninsula, but can be found three to six years out of ten

2   This species has been seen very few times this century, but has been reported from the Seward Peninsula

*    At this time, we do not have enough information to accurately estimate the chances of seeing this species from the road system.

N    Known to nest within Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

LOONS June July August ___Common LoonN r r r ___Yellow-billed LoonN u u u ___Arctic LoonN r r r ___Pacific LoonN c c c ___Red-throated LoonN a a a
GREBES June July August ___Red-necked GrebeN u u u ___Horned Grebe r r *
SHEARWATERS, PETRELS June July August ___Northern Fulmar 2 * * ___Short-tailed Shearwater 2 * *
STORM-PETRELS June July August ___Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 2 * *
CORMORANTS June July August ___Pelagic Cormorant u u u
CRANES June July August ___Sandhill CraneN a a a
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS June July August ___Tundra SwanN a a a ___Whooper Swan 2 * * ___Canada GooseN a c c ___Black brant a c c ___Emperor GooseN r r r ___Bean Goose 2 * * ___White-fronted Goose 1 * 2 ___Snow Goose r r r ___MallardN c c c ___Northern PintailN a a a ___Green-winged TealN a a a ___Baikal Teal 2 * * ___Blue-winged Teal 2 * * ___Gadwall 2 * * ___Eurasian Wigeon r * * ___American WigeonN c c c ___Northern ShovelerN c c c ___Canvasback u u u ___Common Pochard 2 * * ___Redhead r * * ___Tufted Duck 2 * * ___Greater ScaupN a a a ___Lesser Scaup 2 * * ___Common EiderN c u u ___King Eider r * r ___Spectacled Eider r * r ___Steller's Eider 2 * 2 ___Black Scoter c u u ___Surf Scoter u u u ___White-winged Scoter u u u ___Harlequin DuckN c c c ___OldsquawN a a a ___Common Goldeneye r r * ___Bufflehead r r * ___Common Merganser r * * ___Red-breasted MerganserN c c c
PLOVERS June July August ___Semipalmated PloverN c c c ___Mongolian Plover 2 * * ___Black-bellied Plover u u u ___American Golden PloverN c c c ___Pacific Golden PloverN c c c
SANDPIPERS June July August ___Hudsonian Godwit u * * ___Bar-tailed GodwitN a c c ___Bristle-thighed CurlewN r r r ___WhimbrelN a a a ___Lesser YellowlegsN u u u ___Solitary Sandpiper 2 2 2 ___Spotted SandpiperN u u u ___Terek Sandpiper 1 * * ___Wandering TattlerN c c c ___Gray-tailed Tattler 2 2 2 ___Green Sandpiper 1 * * ___Wood Sandpiper 1 * * ___Red-necked PhalaropeN a a a ___Red PhalaropeN r r r ___Long-billed Dowitcher u u u ___Common SnipeN c c c ___Ruddy TurnstoneN c c c ___Black Turnstone u u u ___Surfbird r r r ___Rock Sandpiper r r r ___Red Knot c u c ___Great Knot 1 * * ___DunlinN c u c ___Semipalmated SandpiperN a a a ___Western SandpiperN a a a ___Long-toed Stint r * * ___Little Stint 1 * * ___Temmink's Stint 1 * * ___Rufous-necked Stint r * * ___Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 2 * * ___Baird's SandpiperN u r u ___Pectoral SandpiperN c u c ___Buff-breasted SandpiperN 1 * 1
JAEGERS, GULLS, TERNS June July August ___Pomarine JaegerN u r u ___Parasitic JaegerN c u c ___Long-tailed JaegerN c c c ___Bonaparte's Gull r r r ___Ross' Gull 1 * * ___Mew Gull c c c ___Herring Gull u u u ___Thayer's Gull r r r ___Glaucous Gull c c c ___Slaty-backed Gull u u u ___Glaucous-winged Gull a a a ___Black-legged KittiwakeN c c c ___Sabine's Gull u u u ___Ivory Gull 1 * * ___Arctic TernN a a a ___Aleutian Tern u u u
AUKS AND PUFFINS June July August ___Dovekie 2 * * ___Common MurreN c c c ___Thick-billed Murre c c c ___Black Guillemot u * * ___Pigeon Guillemot u * * ___Marbled Murrelet r * * ___Kittlitz's Murrelet r * * ___Parakeet Auklet r r r ___Least Auklet r * * ___Crested Auklet r * * ___Horned PuffinN u u u ___Tufted Puffin u u u
KITES, HAWKS, EAGLES June July August ___Golden EagleN u u u ___Northern HarrierN u u u ___Rough-legged HawkN c c c ___Osprey r r r
FALCONS AND CARACARA June July August ___American Kestrel r r r ___Merlin r r r ___Peregrine FalconN u u u ___GyrfalconN u u u
GROUSE, PTARMIGANS June July August ___Spruce Grouse r r r ___Rock PtarmiganN u u u ___Willow PtarmiganN c u u
OWLS June July August ___Short-eared OwlN c u c ___Great Horned Owl r r r ___Snowy OwlN r r u ___Northern Hawk-owl r r u
LARKS June July August ___Horned LarkN u u u
SWALLOWS June July August ___Tree SwallowN a a a ___Violet-green Swallow r r r ___Bank Swallow c c c ___Cliff SwallowN c c c
JAYS, CROWS, MAGPIES June July August ___Gray Jay r r r ___Common RavenN a a a
TITMICE AND CHICKADEES June July August ___Black-capped Chickadee c u c
THRUSHES June July August ___Arctic WarblerN u u u ___Ruby-crowned Kinglet u u u ___Gray-cheeked ThrushN a a a ___Varied Thrush u u u ___American RobinN a a a ___Northern WheatearN u u u ___BluethroatN u u u ___Siberian Rubythroat 1 * *
SHRIKES June July August ___Northern ShrikeN u u u
PIPITS AND WAGTAILS June July August ___Northern PipitN c c c ___Red-throated Pipit r r r ___White Wagtail r r r ___Yellow WagtailN a a a
DIPPERS June July August ___American Dipper r r r
WARBLERS June July August ___Orange-crowned Warbler u u u ___Yellow WarblerN c c c ___Yellow-rumped WarblerN u u u ___Wilson's WarblerN c c c ___Northern WaterthrushN c c c
GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS, SPARROWS June July August ___Savannah SparrowN c c c ___American Tree SparrowN c c c ___Dark-eyed Junco r r r ___White-crowned SparrowN a a a ___Golden-crowned SparrowN c c c ___Lincoln's SparrowN r r r ___Fox SparrowN a a a ___Lapland LongspurN a a a ___Snow Bunting r * r ___McKay's Bunting r * r ___Rusty BlackbirdN u r r ___Common RedpollN a a a ___Hoary RedpollN a a a

For additional information contact:
               United States Department of the Interior
               National Park Service
               Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
               P.O. Box 220
               Nome, Alaska 99762

This resource is based on the following source:
Harris, Rich. 1996. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Birding on the 
      Seward Peninsula.  United States Department of the Interior and 
      National Park Service.  Unpaginated.                                                                 
This resource should be cited as:
Harris, Rich. 1996. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Birding on the 
      Seward Peninsula.  United States Department of the Interior and 
      National Park Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie 
      Wildlife Research Center Online.                                                                          
      (Version 10JUL2001).                                                                                   

Return to Bird Checklists of Alaska
Return to Bird Checklists of the United States

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:02:49 EST
Reston, VA [vaww54]