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Some of the Pribilof’s Reddish Birds

Posted By David Mendosa On October 22, 2013 @ 9:58 am In Alaska | No Comments

While I went to Saint Paul Island, the largest of the Pribilofs, primarily to see its fabulous puffins and other alcids, I saw many other beautiful birds there too. Among them were several that came packaged in various shades of red that particularly excite me.

One of these is a member of the widespread family of cormorants. We have so many double-crested cormorants in Colorado that those cormorants don’t excite me any more. But the red-faced cormorants I saw in Alaska do. This species is both exceptionally colorful and has a very limited range. The red-faced cormorant lives only on the cold seas of the southern Alaska coast.

This Red-faced Cormorant Came to a Cliff on the Coast of Saint Paul Island to Breed [1]

This Red-faced Cormorant Came to a Cliff on the Coast of Saint Paul Island to Breed

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Gray-crowned rosy finches live on open ground at the top of mountains from Alaska to California and on the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. But “due to its remote and rocky alpine habitat,” Wikipedia [2] says, “it is rarely seen.” I had the good fortune to see this one.

A Wet Gray-crowned Rosy Finch on a Foggy Morning [3]

A Wet Gray-crowned Rosy Finch on a Foggy Morning

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The only accommodations for travelers to the Pribilof Islands is the so-called King Eider Hotel. Although the name is regal sounding, in reality it is a part of a prefab barracks that it shares with the airport terminal. Noise of aircraft landing didn’t bother me, because on most days none came or left the island. The other good things I can say about the hotel is that it was warm and that its name got me excited about seeing a real king eider.

In fact, I were lucky to see one, because in summer their normal range is even further north. Only one lonely second year male remained behind.

A Wet Gray-crowned Rosy Finch on a Foggy Morning [4]
A Young King Eider Remained Behind
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I was also lucky to see red-legged kittiwakes. They are listed as vulnerable and breed only on the Pribilof Islands, the uninhabited Bogoslof and Buldir islands in Alaska and Russia’s Commander Islands.

No Free Parking Places! [5]

No Free Parking Places!

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Some of my friends know that my favorite color is red. Seeing these birds packaged with a little red makes me happy.

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[2] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray-crowned_Rosy_Finch

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