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Bird Checklists of the United States

Birds along the Dalton Highway

small state map showing location

Fairbanks, Alaska


To increase your likelihood of spotting specific birds, become familiar with the different habitat types along the Dalton Highway.

Forest

Northern Alaskan forests consist of white and black spruce, aspen, poplar, birch, alder and willow in varied combinations. Feeding and nesting habits determine which birds live in young or old growth, conifer or deciduous forests.

Shrub

Shrub habitat consists primarily of dwarf birch and various types of willow. Found along water's edge or in the zone above treeline, this habitats home to many songbirds in summer and year-round residence to ptarmigan in alpine areas.

Tundra

Tundra is treeless. From arid alpine areas of lichens and heaths to water-logged marshes of sedges and muskegs, the tundra is home to a wide variety of birds.

Water

Many nesting birds in northern Alaska require water in the form of lakes, streams or thaw ponds. Shoreline grasses, sedges and low shrubs provide nesting habitat for many types of waterfowl and shorebirds.


Locale and liklihood of observations:

N - north of the Brooks Range
S - south of the Brooks Range

1 - almost always
2 - usually
3 - sometimes
4 - if you're lucky
5 - possibly, but seldom seen
* - does not breed in the area

Habitat abbreviations:

DF - deciduous forest
CF - coniferous forest
CD - coniferous/deciduous mix
WDF - woodland/dwarf forest

DS - dwarf shrub (knee-high or lower)
MS - medium shrub (approx. waist-high)
TS - tall shrub (approx. head-high)

MT - moist tundra (low latitudes 20 miles inland to foothills of Brooks Range)
WT - wet tundra (Arctic ocean coastline to 20 miles inland)
ADT - alpine/dry tundra

LS - lakes/shorelines
RS - rivers/shorelines
CTP - coastal tundra ponds


Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Gaviidae/Loons N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Red-throated Loon 2 3                     ^ ^ ^
Pacific Loon 1 2                     ^   ^
Common Loon   2                     ^    
Yellow-billed Loon 3                       ^   ^
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Podicipedidae/Grebes N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Horned Grebe 4* 2                     ^    
Red-necked Grebe 3 2                     ^    
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Anatidae/Swans/Geese/Ducks N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Tundra Swan 2 3                     ^   ^
Trumpeter Swan 4 3                     ^    
Greater White-fronted Goose 1                   ^       ^
Snow Goose 2                   ^       ^
Brant 2 3*                 ^       ^
Canada Goose 1 3                 ^       ^
Green-winged Teal 2 2                     ^    
Mallard 3 2                     ^    
Northern Pintail 1 2                     ^   ^
Blue-winged Teal 5* 3                     ^    
Northern Shoveler 3 2                     ^    
Gadwall 5* 3*                     ^   ^
American Wigeon 2 1                     ^    
Canvasback   3                     ^    
Redhead 5* 3                     ^    
Ring-necked Duck 5* 3                     ^    
Greater Scaup 2 1                     ^    
Lesser Scaup 5* 1                     ^    
Steller's Eider 3                         ^  
Common Eider 2                           ^
King Eider 2                   ^       ^
Spectacled Eider 2                           ^
Harlequin Duck 3 4                       ^  
Oldsquaw 1 3                     ^   ^
Surf Scoter 2 1                     ^   ^
White-winged Scoter 2 1                     ^   ^
Common Goldeneye 5* 3                     ^    
Barrow's Goldeneye   4                     ^    
Bufflehead 5* 3                     ^    
Red-breasted Merganser 3 3                     ^ ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Accipitridae/Hawks/Eagles N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT MS ADT LS RS CTP
 
Osprey 5* 3                     ^ ^  
Northern Harrier 3 2     ^ ^       ^          
Sharp-shinned Hawk   3     ^ ^                  
Northern Goshawk   3   ^ ^                    
Red-tailed Hawk   2   ^ ^ ^                  
Rough-legged Hawk 1 2                   ^      
Golden Eagle 2 2                   ^      
Bald Eagle 5* 3   ^                 ^ ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Falconidae/Falcons N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
American Kestrel   2   ^ ^                    
Merlin 3* 3       ^       ^          
Peregrine Falcon 3 4               ^   ^      
Gyrfalcon 2 4               ^   ^      
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Phasianidae/Grouse N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Spruce Grouse   2   ^ ^                    
Willow Ptarmigan 1 1           ^ ^ ^          
Rock Ptarmigan 2 3         ^     ^ ^ ^      
Ruffed Grouse   3 ^   ^                    
Sharp-tailed Grouse   5   ^ ^ ^                  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Gruidae/Cranes N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Sandhill Crane 2 2               ^          
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Charadriidae/Plovers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Black-bellied Plover 2 3*               ^ ^        
American Golden-Plover 1 3         ^     ^ ^ ^      
Semipalmated Plover 2 1                     ^   ^
Killdeer 5* 4                     ^   ^
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Scolopacidae/Sandpipers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Lesser Yellowlegs 5 1               ^ ^   ^    
Solitary Sandpiper 5 2                         ^
Wandering Tattler 5 3                         ^
Gray-tailed Tattler 5*                           ^
Spotted Sandpiper 2 2                     ^   ^
Upland Sandpiper   3       ^                  
Bar-tailed Godwit 2                   ^        
Whimbrel 3 2               ^   ^      
Ruddy Turnstone   2           ^       ^     ^
Surfbird   4                   ^      
Sanderling 3                           ^
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1 3*                 ^        
Western Sandpiper 2 3         ^         ^      
Least Sandpiper 2 3               ^ ^        
White-rumped Sandpiper 3                   ^        
Baird's Sandpiper 2 3         ^         ^   ^  
Pectoral Sandpiper 1 2*                 ^        
Dunlin 2                   ^       ^
Stilt Sandpiper 3                   ^        
Buff-breasted Sandpiper 3                   ^     ^  
Long-billed Dowitcher 1 2                 ^   ^    
Common Snipe 1 1       ^         ^   ^    
Red-necked Phalarope 1 2                 ^   ^    
Red Phalarope 1                   ^   ^    
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Laridae/Gulls N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Pomerine Jaeger 2                   ^        
Parasitic Jaeger 2                   ^        
Long-tailed Jaeger 1 1               ^   ^      
Bonaparte's Gull 5* 3                     ^    
Mew Gull 3 1                 ^   ^ ^  
Thayer's Gull 4*                   ^   ^    
Herring Gull 4 3                 ^   ^    
Glaucous Gull 1 3*                 ^   ^    
Sabine's Gull 1                   ^   ^   ^
Arctic Tern 2 1                     ^ ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Strigidae/Owls N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Great Horned Owl   3   ^ ^                    
Snowy Owl 1-4                 ^ ^ ^      
Northern Hawk Owl   2   ^ ^ ^     ^            
Great Gray Owl   4   ^ ^                    
Short-eared Owl 1 2       ^   ^   ^          
Boreal Owl   4   ^ ^                    
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Alcedinidae/Kingfishers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Belted Kingfishers   3                     ^ ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Picidae/Woodpeckers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Downy Woodpecker   3   ^ ^                    
Hairy Woodpecker   2   ^ ^                    
Three-toed Woodpecker   3   ^ ^                    
Black-backed Woodpecker   4   ^                      
Northern Flicker   2   ^ ^                    
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Tyrannidae/Flycatchers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Olive-sided Flycatcher 5* 3   ^ ^                    
Alder Flycatcher 5* 2             ^         ^  
Hammond's Flycatcher 5* 3 ^ ^                      
Say's Phoebe 2 2                   ^      
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Alaudidae/Larks N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Horned Lark 2 2         ^         ^      
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Hirundinidae/Swallows N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Tree Swallow 5* 2     ^               ^ ^  
Violet-Green Swallow 5* 1   ^ ^               ^ ^  
Bank Swallow 5* 2                     ^ ^  
Cliff Swallow 2 1     ^               ^ ^  
Barn Swallow 5* 5*                         ^
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Corvidae/Jays/Magpies/Ravens N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Gray Jay 5 1   ^ ^ ^                  
Black-billed Magpie 5* 4*     ^ ^   ^              
Common Raven 1 1   ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Paridae/Chickadees N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Black-capped Chickadee   2 ^ ^ ^                    
Siberian Tit 5*         ^     ^            
Boreal Chickadee   2   ^ ^ ^                  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Sittidae/Creepers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Brown Creeper   4   ^ ^                    
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Cinclidae/Dippers N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
American Dipper 3 3                       ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Muscicapidae/Thrushes N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Arctic Warbler 2 2           ^ ^            
Ruby-crowned Kinglet   3   ^                      
Bluethroat 3             ^   ^          
Northern Wheatear 2 2                   ^      
Townsend's Solitaire   3       ^           ^      
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1 1     ^ ^   ^ ^            
Swainson's Thrush 5* 2     ^ ^     ^            
Hermit Thrush 5* 3   ^ ^                    
American Robin 3 1   ^ ^ ^     ^     ^ ^ ^  
Varied Thrush   2   ^                      
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Motacillidae/Wagtails/Pipits N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Yellow Wagtail 2             ^ ^ ^          
American Pipit 2 2         ^         ^   ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Bombycillidae/Waxwings N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Bohemian Waxwing   2     ^ ^                  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Laniidae/Shrikes N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Northern Shrike 3         ^     ^ ^       ^  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Emberizidae/Warblers/Sparrows N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Orange-crowned Warbler 5* 3             ^         ^  
Yellow Warbler 3 2           ^ ^       ^ ^  
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5* 2   ^ ^                    
Townsend's Warbler   3   ^ ^                    
Blackpoll Warbler 5* 3   ^ ^       ^            
Northern Waterthrush   3   ^         ^         ^  
Wilson's Warbler 5 2     ^     ^ ^            
American Tree Sparrow 2 2       ^   ^ ^            
Savannah Sparrow 1 1           ^   ^   ^      
Fox Sparrow 2 2           ^ ^            
Golden-crowned Sparrow 3* 3           ^ ^            
White-crowned Sparrow 2 1     ^ ^   ^ ^            
Dark-eyed Junco 3 1   ^ ^ ^                  
Lapland Longspur 1 1               ^ ^ ^      
Smith's Longspur 2 3               ^          
Snow Bunting 1 2                   ^      
Rusty Blackbird 4 2     ^ ^     ^            
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Family/Name Summer Status Habitat Preference
forest shrub tundra water
Fringillidae/Finches N S DF CF CD WDF DS MS TS MT WT ADT LS RS CTP
 
Rosy Finch 3 2         ^         ^      
Pine Grosbeak 3* 2   ^ ^                    
White-winged Crossbill   3   ^                      
Common Redpoll 2 2     ^     ^ ^ ^          
Hoary Redpoll 1 3           ^ ^ ^          
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Acknowledgments: The Arctic District extends special thanks to Amy Schauer for her time and expertise in providing the original research, compilation and review necessary to produce this bird checklist. Thanks to Dan Wetzel for sharing his knowledge of birds along the Dalton Highway and for helping develop habitat designations for the large land area within and adjacent to the Utility Corridor. Finally, thanks to Judy O'Neale for her thorough review of this checklist and her contagious enthusiasm for birdwatching in northern Alaska.
This resource is based on the following source:
Schauer, Amy.  No date.  Birds along the Dalton Highway.  Bureau of Land 
     Management.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Schauer, Amy.  No date.  Birds along the Dalton Highway.  Bureau of Land 
     Management.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie 
     Wildlife Research Center Online.     
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govdalton.htm 
     (Version 01SEPT98).

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