Most people come to Alaska with the hope of seeing a bear or an eagle however, if you go searching or just get lucky, you will find that Juneau has so many more animals to see.
High on the slopes is where you will spot a mountain goat. This alpine species prefer to live climbing the cliffs and peaks of the mountains. In the winter these wild goats will travel to lower elevations to escape the harsh weather. You will often see mountain goats traversing above tree line or near glaciers where they can get rich nutrients from minerals deposited called salt licks. Keep your eyes open for these animals as you hike around Juneau!
A more common animal to jump out from hiding are the Sitka black-tailed deer. These friendly creatures roam along the roadways of Juneau or can be found bounding into the brush around homes. During the summer their coat will turn a reddish-brown in exchange of their dark brown winter fur. Fawns are typically born in early June so keep a look out for the newly born deers hopping into the forest during your visit!
Along the shores of Juneau, you can find many Glaucous-winged Gulls or better known as Seagulls. Juneau’s coastal habitats make a perfect home for these gulls, providing a plentiful food source of salmon and other small fish. But that won’t stop them from stealing your lunch so keep your snacks close!! The rainforest of Southeast Alaska is alive with the chirps of over 300 species of birds. Other well-known birds are the Stellar Jay, Raven, Puffin and lastly, Alaska’s state bird, the Willow Ptarmigan.
The Ptarmigan is a little harder to locate because they typically do not nest in wooded areas but rather in the shrubby muskeg in the hills and mountains. One of the amazing characteristics of this beautiful bird is that it changes color with the season. This special effect acts as camouflage for protection. As seen in the picture below, the Ptarmigan has brown and black flecked feathers during the summer and white bodies during the winter months to blend into the snow. You can find Ptarmigans all across the region and even as far as the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. You have to look close to see these birds as they just may be blending in!
All photos taken by Kelsey Jensen, view her website here.