Top 20 Backyard Birds in Alaska

Boreal Chickadee

Have you wondered what those birds are that are visiting your backyard in Alaska?

Well, this guide will help you to find out how to identify these birds by sight and sound and what time of year you can spot them in Alaska. Also, get a free ID chart to print with the most common backyard birds in Alaska.

Backyard birds in Alaska all year: Black-capped Chickadee, Black-billed Magpie, Dark-eyed Junco, Steller’s Jay, Boreal Chickadee, American Crow, Song Sparrow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pine Siskin, Rock Pigeon, Pine Grosbeak, Hairy Woodpecker
Backyard birds in Alaska in summer:
American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow Warbler
Backyard birds in Alaska in winter: Red-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker

These are the most common backyard birds in Alaska that may visit your lawn or feeders. They are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists submitted by bird watchers on ebird.

This article gives you identification information and photos to help you identify and attract more of the common backyard birds that you can spot in Alaska.

Top 20 Backyard Birds In Alaska

1. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadees can be spotted in Alaska all year, but their numbers increase from October to April. They occur in 11% of summer checklists and 33% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

The Black-capped Chickadee is a cute bird with a big round head and tiny body. These birds will happily feed at backyard feeders and investigate everything, including you! 

They have black caps and beaks, white cheeks, and are gray on the back, wings, and tail.

  • Poecile atricapillus
  • Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in (16-21 cm)

Black-capped Chickadees do not migrate and can be spotted in the northern half of the US and Canada.

You can find them in forests, open woods, and parks. Black-capped Chickadees eat seeds, berries and insects, spiders, and suet.

Black-capped Chickadee Call/Song:

Credit: Matt Wistrand, XC554222. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/554222.

Attract Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard with suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter. They will even feed from your hand and are often one of the first birds to discover new feeders. They will also use nest boxes, especially if you fill them with wood shavings.

2. Black-billed Magpie

black-billed-magpie

Black-billed Magpies are usually spotted in Alaska during winter, from October to February, but some are residents of the state all year. They appear in 13% of summer checklists and 32% of winter checklists.

Black-billed Magpies, usually just called Magpies, are black and white birds that are noisy. They have long tails and blue-green iridescent flashes in the wing and tail. Males are up to 25% heavier than females.

  • Pica hudsonia
  • Length: 17.7-23.6 in (45-60 cm)
  • Weight: 5.1-7.4 oz (145-210 g)
  • Wingspan: 22.1-24.0 in (56-61 cm)

Black-billed Magpies live in northwestern US states and western Canada, and the coast of Alaska. They do not migrate.

You can find them walking on the ground in meadow and grasslands or other open areas feeding on fruit and grain, beetles, and grasshoppers. They have also been known to kill small mammals such as squirrels and voles and raid bird nests for eggs or nestlings and even carrion.

Black-billed Magpie sounds: A series of harsh calls and also a scream.

Credit: Peter Ward and Ken Hall, XC614155. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/614155.

You can attract Black-billed Magpies to your backyard with platform and suet feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, fruit, suet, millet, and milo.

3. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark eyed junco for identification

Dark-eyed Juncos can be seen in Alaska all year and appear in 24% of summer checklists and 21% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows that are different colors depending on the state. They are generally slate-colored in the east and black, white, and brown in the west.

  • Junco hyemalis
  • Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)

Dark-eyed Juncos remain resident all year in northeastern and western US states and the Appalachian Mountains. Those that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate south in winter to the United States.

They can be found in open and partially wooded areas, often on the ground, and are common across the continent. 

Dark-eyed Junco Song:

Credit: Bobby Wilcox, XC667170. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/667170.

Attract Dark-eyed Juncos to backyard feeders with a variety of seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts. Platform feeders or scattered on the ground are best.

4. Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches are seen all year in Alaska, but they are mainly spotted from December to February. They appear in 4% of summer checklists but up to 21% of winter checklists for the state.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are blue-gray birds with black and white stripes on their heads and a rusty underside.

  • Sitta canadensis
  • Length: 4.3 in (11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (8-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in (18-20 cm)

Red-breasted Nuthatches remain all year in northeastern and western states, Alaska and Canada but may move south in winter if cone crops are poor.

You can find Red-breasted Nuthatches in coniferous woods foraging for cones, and they also visit backyard feeders.

Red-breasted Nuthatch Call:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC599843. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/599843.

Attract Red-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with black oil sunflower seeds, suet feeders, peanuts, and mealworms.

5. American Robin

American Robin for identification

American Robins spend the breeding season in Alaska and occur in 34% of summer checklists. They are mainly spotted from April to September, but some remain in the state all year and appear in 4% of winter checklists.

American Robins are a common sight on lawns eating earthworms. They have black heads and backs with red or orange breasts. They tend to roost in trees in winter, so you are more likely to see them in your backyard from spring.

  • Turdus migratorius
  • Length: 7.9-11.0 in (20-28 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz (77-85 g)
  • Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in (31-40 cm)

American Robins are residents in the lower 48 and the coast of Western Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and inland Alaska move south for the winter.

American Robins can be found in many habitats, from woodlands, forests, and mountains to fields, parks, and lawns. They eat earthworms, insects, snails, and fruit.

American Robin Song:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC656426. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/656426.

American Robin Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC698509. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/698509.

Attract American Robins to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet and peanut hearts, fruit, and mealworms. Platform feeders are best or food scattered on the ground. Also, try planting some native plants that produce berries, such as juniper, sumac, hawthorn, and dogwood.

6. Steller’s Jay

stellars jay

Steller’s Jays are spotted in Alaska all year, mainly in the southeast of the state. They appear in 5% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.

Steller’s Jays are large songbirds with black triangular crests that stick up from their heads. The rest of their heads and onto their chests and back are black, with the rest of their bodies being blue.

  • Cyanocitta stelleri
  • Length: 11.8-13.4 in (30-34 cm)
  • Weight: 3.5-4.9 oz (100-140 g)
  • Wingspan: 17.3 in (44 cm)

Steller’s Jays are resident in western US states, western Canada, Mexico, and Central America.

You can find Steller’s Jays in evergreen forests in the mountains, and they will also be found around picnic tables, campgrounds, and backyard feeders.

Steller’s Jays eat most things they can forage for, including insects, seeds, nuts, berries, eggs, and nestlings, but also make a nuisance of themselves around garbage and your unguarded picnic!

Steller’s Jay sounds: They make ‘kaw’ sounds as well as fast two-toned calls, peeps, and harsh guttural sounds. Steller’s Jays can also mimic other noises such as other bird species and even sprinklers and alarms.

Paul Marvin, XC636598. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/636598.

Attract Steller’s Jays to your backyard with peanuts and suet.

7. Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadees can be found all year in Alaska, and are recorded in 5% of summer checklists and 13% of winter checklists for the state.

Boreal Chickadees are tiny grayish-brown songbirds with a dark brown cap, small black bib, cinnamon sides, and white underneath and on the cheeks.

  • Poecile hudsonicus
  • Length: 4.9-5.5 in (12.5-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-12.4 g)

Boreal Chickadees live in Canada and Alaska and may appear in northern US states.

You can find Boreal Chickadees mostly in coniferous forests, often near water, but also can be found in deciduous or mixed forests. They feed on seeds and insects from the upper areas of the canopy and will readily visit feeders.

Credit: Ken Hall, XC511286. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/511286.

Nests of Boreal Chickadees are usually in dead trees, and the hole is made by the female. Moss and bark are used to line the cavity, and then softer material such as hair and feathers is added. They lay up to nine eggs, which take just over two weeks to hatch.

Attract Boreal Chickadees to your backyard with Black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, suet, peanuts, and mealworms on most types of feeders.  Also, put up a nesting box to attract a mating pair.

Fun Fact: Boreal Chickadees will store seeds and insects for the long and harsh winter.

8. American Crow

American Crow for identification

American Crows are common in Alaska and can be spotted here all year. They appear in 11% of summer checklists and 17% of winter checklists for the state.

American crows are large all-black birds that make a hoarse, cawing sound.

  • Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Length: 15.8-20.9 in (40-53 cm)
  • Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz (316-620 g)
  • Wingspan: 33.5-39.4 in (85-100 cm)

American Crows are residents all year in most of the lower 48 and the Pacific Coast in Canada and Alaska. Those that breed in Canada and the northern Midwest migrate south for winter.

They are common birds found in most habitats, including treetops, woods, fields, beaches, or towns.

They eat most things and usually feed on the ground, eating earthworms, insects, seeds, and fruit. They also eat fish, young turtles, mussels, and clams and will even eat eggs and nestlings of many species of birds.

In winter, American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows to sleep in noisy communal roosts.

American Crow Call:

Credit: Russ Wigh, XC569711. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/569711.

Attract American Crows to your backyard by scattering peanuts, but they can become a nuisance as they are attracted by garbage or pet food if left out.

9. Song Sparrow

Song sparrow for identification

Song Sparrows can be spotted all year in Alaska, and they are mainly seen in the south of the state, along the coast. They appear in 9% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.

Song sparrows are not as remarkable looking as other backyard birds, but these predominantly brown-streaked birds use their almost constant song to attract mates in spring and summer.

  • Melospiza melodia
  • Length: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)

Song Sparrows live all year in the northern US states. Those that breed in Canada migrate to southern US states for winter.

They can be found in open, shrubby, and wet areas, often perched on a low shrub singing. They are often found at backyard feeders.

Song Sparrows eat a wide variety of insects and plants, including beetles, caterpillars, midges, spiders, and earthworms. They will also eat buckwheat, sunflower, raspberries, wild cherries, blackberries, wheat, and rice.

Song Sparrow Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC692182. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/692182.

Song Sparrow Call:

Credit: Manuel Grosselet, XC683210. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/683210.

Attract Song Sparrows to your backyard feeders by putting black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and nyjer on platform feeders.

Sparrows are known as LBJs (Little brown jobs) but if you want to know more, check out this guide to sparrows in Alaska.

10. Chestnut-backed Chickadee

chestnut-backed-chickadee

Chestnut-backed Chickadees are residents of Alaska all year and are mainly spotted in the southeast of the state. They occur in 4% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.

Chestnut-backed Chickadees are tiny birds with black caps and throats and white cheeks. They are a rich chestnut on their backs and sides and have gray wings and bellies. In California, their sides are gray instead of brown.

  • Poecile rufescens
  • Length: 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-12 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)

Chestnut-backed Chickadees live flocks in wet evergreen forests along the Pacific Coast and are regular visitors to backyard feeders.

You can find Chestnut-backed Chickadees usually in conifer forests. They eat mostly insects, including caterpillars, spiders, wasps, and aphids, with seeds, berries, and fruit making up the rest.

Credit: Simon Elliott, XC597659. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/597659.

Nests of Chestnut-backed Chickadees are usually holes in rotten wood made either by the birds themselves or they use old woodpecker nests. The nest is lined with moss and bark, and then softer material such as fur and grass is added. They lay up to eleven eggs, which take around two weeks to hatch and nearly three weeks for the young to leave the nest.

Attract Chestnut-backed Chickadees to your yard with black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, nyjer, peanuts, or mealworms in tube feeders, platform feeders, or suet cages. They will also use nest boxes.

11. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker for identification in Massachusetts MA

Downy Woodpeckers are spotted in Alaska all year, but they are spotted more in winter. They appear in 2% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists.

Downy Woodpeckers are small birds that are common at backyard feeders. They are often mixed in with other birds, such as chickadees and nuthatches. 

They have black and white coloring with a red patch at the back of their heads. They look similar to the Hairy Woodpecker but smaller.

  • Dryobates pubescens
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
  • Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz (21-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

Downy Woodpeckers do not migrate and can be spotted in most states and provinces, except the north of Canada.

You can find Downy woodpeckers in woodlots, along streams, city parks, and backyards, and they eat mainly insects and beetle larvae but also berries, acorns, and grains.

Downy Woodpecker Call:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC601009. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/601009.

Attract Downy Woodpeckers to your backyard with their favorite treat of suet, but they will also eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts on platform feeders.

Some woodpeckers are more easily recognized than others, but with this guide, you can identify all the woodpeckers in Alaska.

12. Pine Siskin

pine siskin

Pine Siskins are spotted during migration in western Alaska and during the breeding season in the east. However, some stay all year in the south of the state. They are recorded in 8% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists for the state.

Pine Siskins are small brown finches with yellow streaks on the wing and tail. They have a forked tail and pointed wings, with a short pointed bill.

  • Spinus Pinus
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)

Pine Siskins remain all year in the pine forests in the western states and along the Canadian Border. Some also breed in Canada before heading south for winter.

Depending on pine cone crops, they can be found over much of North America. As their name suggests, Pine Siskins predominantly eat seeds from conifers, but they also eat young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.

Pine Siskin Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC348803. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/348803.

Attract Pine Siskins to your backyards with thistle and nyjer feeders but also black oil sunflower seeds and suet.

There are a surprising number of finches in Alaska that you can get to know.

13. Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warblers spend the breeding season in Alaska, and they are mainly spotted here from April to November. They are recorded in 21% of summer checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are gray with flashes of yellow on the face, sides, and rump and white in the wings.

Females may be slightly brown, and winter birds are paler brown with bright yellow rumps and sides turning bright yellow and gray again in spring.

  • Setophaga coronata
  • Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz (12-13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Yellow-rumped Warblers breed predominantly in Canada and parts of the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains.

During migration, they can be seen in the Midwest before overwintering in southern and southwestern US states and the Pacific Coast and into Mexico and Central America.

You can find Yellow-rumped Warblers in coniferous forests, especially during the breeding season. During winter, they can be found in open areas with fruiting shrubs. In summer, they eat mostly insects and on migration, and in winter, they eat mostly fruit, including bayberry and wax myrtle. 

Yellow-rumped Warbler Song:

Credit: Christopher McPherson, XC602699. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/602699.

Attract Yellow-rumped Warblers to your backyard with sunflower seeds, suet, raisins, and peanut butter.

There are so many yellow birds in Alaska that you will spot, especially in spring.

14. Orange-crowned Warbler

orange-crowned-warbler

Orange-crowned Warblers are mainly spotted in Alaska during summer from April to September, but some remain until December. They are recorded in 19% of summer checklists for the state.

Orange-crowned Warblers are not as brightly colored as other warblers with their yellow-olive coloring. They are more yellow on the Pacific Coast, and the orange crown is rarely seen.

  • Leiothlypis celata
  • Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)

Orange-crowned Warblers breed in Canada and western US states before migrating to the Pacific, East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Mexico. However, Orange-crowned Warblers can also be seen during migration across all states.

You can find Orange-crowned Warblers in shrubs and low vegetation, and they breed in open woodland.

Orange-crowned Warblers eat mainly insects, spiders, caterpillars, and flies. However, they will also eat fruit, berries, and seeds and regularly visit backyard feeders.

Orange-crowned Warbler Song:

Credit: Paul Marvin, XC671865. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/671865.

Attract more Orange-crowned Warblers to your yard with suet and peanut butter or hummingbird feeders with sugar water nectar.

15. White-crowned Sparrow

white-crowned sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows are usually spotted in Alaska during the breeding season from May to August, and although most migrate south for the winter, some remain in the state all year.

They are recorded in up to 17% of summer checklists and 3% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.

White-crowned Sparrows are large grayish sparrows with long tails, small bills, and bold black and white stripes on their heads.

  • Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Length: 5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm)
  • Weight: 0.9-1.0 oz (25-28 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm)

White-crowned Sparrows breed in Alaska and arctic Canada before heading south to the lower 48 and Mexico for winter. However, some may remain along the Pacific Coast and the mountainous west all year.

You can find White-crowned Sparrows in weedy fields, along roadsides, forest edges,  and in yards foraging for seeds of weeds and grasses or fruit such as elderberries and blackberries.

White-crowned Sparrow Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC678159. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/678159.

Attract White-crowned Sparrows to your backyard with sunflower seeds, and they will also eat seeds that other birds drop at feeders.

16. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

ruby crowned kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets spend the breeding season in Alaska and occur in 14% of summer checklists.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are small songbirds that are olive-green, and the males have a brilliant red crown that is usually flat, so hard to see.

  • Corthylio calendula
  • Length: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.2-0.3 oz (5-10 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.1 in (16-18 cm)

Ruby-crowned Kinglets breed in Canada and the mountainous west before migrating to southern and southwestern US states and Mexico for the winter. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be hard to spot as they are fast-moving quiet birds that flit around in the foliage of lower branches and shrubs and trees looking for spiders and insects.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC628827. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/628827.

Attract Ruby-crowned Kinglets with suet or platform feeders with hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, and mealworms.

17. Rock Pigeon

Rock Pigeon

Rock Pigeons can be found all year in Alaska, mainly in the southeast of the state. They appear in 3% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists.

Rock Pigeons are blueish gray with two black bands on the wing and black on the tail tip. They have iridescent throat feathers and orange eyes.

  • Columba livia
  • Length: 11.8-14.2 in (30-36 cm)
  • Weight: 9.3-13.4 oz (265-380 g)
  • Wingspan: 19.7-26.4 in (50-67 cm)

Rock Pigeons do not migrate and can be found in all US states, southern Canada, and the Pacific Coast to Alaska.

They are common in cities and visit backyards, especially for birdseed on the ground. Some cities have ordinances against feeding pigeons as they are considered pests.

18. Pine Grosbeak

pine grosbeak

Pine Grosbeaks breed in northern Alaska, but they are seen all year in the south of the state. They appear in 2% of summer checklists and 16% of winter checklists for the state. Although they occur in more checklists in winter, this is due to the lack of other birds in winter.

Pine Grosbeaks males are red birds with gray on the wings and tail and two white wingbars. Females are gray with dull orange heads and rumps. They are large for finches and relatively slow.

  • Pinicola enucleator
  • Length: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
  • Weight: 2.01 oz (57 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.0 in (33 cm)

Pine Grosbeaks are mostly found in Canada, but some can be spotted along the US border, the mountainous west, and the Sierra Nevada in California.

You can find Pine Grosbeaks in forests of pine, spruce, and fir, feeding on seeds, fruit, and buds from these trees. They will also eat some insects in the summer.  

Pine Grosbeak Call:

Credit: Patrik Åberg, XC406267. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/406267.

Attract Pine Grosbeaks to your backyards with black oil sunflower seed feeders or suet feeders.

There are lots of other red birds in Alaska that you can spot.

19. Yellow Warbler

yellow warbler

Yellow Warblers are spotted in Alaska during the breeding season from May, and they start to migrate in November. They occur in up to 11% of summer checklists.

Yellow Warblers are small bright yellow birds with a yellow-green back, and the males have chestnut streaks on the breast.

  • Setophaga petechia
  • Length: 4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (9-11 g)
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in (16-20 cm)

Yellow Warblers migrate a long distance to breed in Canada and the US, except for southeastern states, before heading back into Central and South America for winter. However, they can be seen during migration in southeastern US states.

You can find Yellow Warblers along streams and wetlands in thickets and along the edges of fields foraging for insects, including caterpillars, midges, beetles, bugs, and wasps.

Yellow Warbler Song:

Credit: Richard E. Webster, XC662546. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/662546.

Attract Yellow Warblers to your backyard with suet, oranges, peanut butter, and plants with berries. Also, plant native plants that attract insects without pesticides or being too tidy! Also, try birdbaths with fountains near secluded thickets to provide protection.

20. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy woodpecker

Hairy Woodpeckers are mainly spotted between September and April, but they can be found in Alaska all year. They occur in 3% of summer checklists and 8% of winter checklists for the state.

Hairy Woodpeckers are medium-sized woodpeckers with a black and white pattern and a large white patch on their backs. The males have a flash of red towards the back of their heads.

They are visually similar to Downy Woodpeckers but larger and with longer bills. As they are often found in the same areas, it is hard to tell them apart if they are not near each other. 

  • Dryobates villosus
  • Length: 7.1-10.2 in (18-26 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz (40-95 g)
  • Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in (33-41 cm)

Hairy Woodpeckers do not migrate and live in all US states and Canada, except the far north of Canada.

You can find Hairy Woodpeckers in woodlands on trunks or main branches of large trees, but they are also found in a wide variety of habitats, including woodlots, parks, and cemeteries. Hairy Woodpeckers’ diet is mostly insects.

Hairy Woodpecker Call/drumming:

Credit: Ron Overholtz, XC621902. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/621902.

Attract Hairy Woodpeckers to your backyard with suet feeders.

Common Birds at Different Times of Year in Alaska

The birds that are attracted to backyards in Alaska change throughout the year.  The lists below show the backyard birds most commonly seen at different times of the year in Alaska.

These are the backyard birds most often seen in Alaska that may visit your lawn or feeders. In addition, they are the birds that appear most frequently on state checklists on ebird. The data combines birds most commonly spotted in Alaska in summer (June and July) and winter (December and January). 

Birds that are not often seen at feeders or backyards were removed to give you the birds in Alaska you are most likely to see from home.

This data mix ensures that whatever time of year you are bird-watching in Alaska, these are the birds you will most likely spot at feeders or on your lawn.

Backyard Birds in Alaska in Summer:

American Robin 34.7%
Dark-eyed Junco 24.0%
Yellow-rumped Warbler 21.1%
Orange-crowned Warbler 19.6%
White-crowned Sparrow 17.7%
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 14.2%
Black-billed Magpie 13.1%
Black-capped Chickadee 11.7%
American Crow 11.6%
Yellow Warbler 11.3%

Backyard Birds in Alaska in Winter:

Black-capped Chickadee 33.2%
Black-billed Magpie 32.5%
Dark-eyed Junco 21.5%
Red-breasted Nuthatch 21.4%
American Crow 17.4%
Pine Grosbeak 16.1%
Boreal Chickadee 13.8%
Downy Woodpecker 11.9%
Song Sparrow 11.7%
Steller’s Jay 11.5%

Best Bird Feeders to Attract Birds

variety of bird feeders will attract the most species of birds in Alaska to your backyard.

  1.  Tube Feeders can be filled with different types of birdseed and depending on the seed different birds will be attracted. Black oil sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins.
  2. Ground Feeders or a tray below a Tube Feeder with Black oil sunflowers tube feeders attract Cardinals, Jays, Finches, and Sparrows.
  3. Platform feeders with Millet or Corn attract small and medium-sized birds such as sparrows, Blackbirds, Towhees, Juncos, Doves, Grackles, and Starlings.
  4. Peanut feeders attract Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Jays, Juncos, Finches, and Sparrows.
  5. Suet Feeders are great, especially in winter, for Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Kinglets, Wrens, and Chickadees.
  6. Hummingbird feeders attract these tiny fascinating birds but they also attract other birds too.

How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard in Alaska

If you would like to attract more birds to your yard in Alaska, here are some tips:

  1. Provide bird feeders for different types of birds to get the most species to visit your yard.
  2. Provide a water feature such as a birdbath fountain or stream.  Ensure that the water is clean and not stagnant
  3.  Grow native plants that will provide food and shelter. Plants, trees, and shrubs that provide fruit, berries, and nuts. Blackberries, wild grasses, elderberries, serviceberries, Oaks, Beeches, Cherries, sumacs, hemlocks, Purple Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, Buttonbush, and Dogwoods.
  4. Let your grass grow long to provide cover and seeds.
  5. Leave a brush pile to provide food, protection, and nesting opportunities for birds.
  6. Don’t use pesticides and herbicides as these may be toxic to birds and prevent the natural foraging opportunities for insects and seeds that birds will seek in your yard.
  7. Set up nest boxes to attract breeding birds and ensure they are cleaned every year.

How to Identify Birds in Alaska

Here are some more tips to help you identify birds in Alaska, whether you choose to go out birding or stay home bird watching in Alaska :

  1. Size – Size is the easiest thing to notice about a bird.  Birds are often measured in inches or centimeters in guide books.  It’s best to take a note of the bird in terms of small, medium, or large to be able to look for it later. A small bird is about the size of a sparrow, a medium bird is about the size of a pigeon and a large bird is the size of a goose.
  2. Shape – Take note of the silhouette of the bird and jot it down or draw the outline.  Look at tail length, bill shape, wing shape, and overall body shape.
  3. Color pattern – Take a note of the main color of the head, back, belly, and wings, and tail for the main color and then any secondary colors or patterns. Also take note of any patterns such as banding, spots, or highlights.
  4. Behavior – Are they on the ground or high up in the trees. Are they in flocks or on their own?  Can you spot what they are eating?
  5. Habitat – Woodlands, parks, shrubs, grasslands or meadows, shore or marsh.
  6. Use a bird identification app such as those created by ebird or Audubon