Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information


Wildlife Habitats

Hemlock-Spruce Forest Zone

Hemlock-Spruce Forest ZoneThe vegetation in this area is dominated by an evergreen hemlock and spruce rain forest which is home to deer, bears, flying squirrels, bald eagles, owls, woodpeckers, wrens and other songbirds. In marine waters, whales, seals, sea lions, otters, puffins, murrelets, kittiwakes, and other seabirds and ducks can be seen. The forest is interspersed with marshes at river outlets where millions of salmon begin their migration upstream to spawn. In the wet meadows and bogs look for deer, bears, geese, grouse, swallows, and sapsuckers. At higher elevations, the forest gives way to treeless alpine tundra and glaciers where deer, mountain goats, grouse, brown bears, and ptarmigan can be seen.

Spruce-Hardwood Forest Zone

Spruce-Hardwood Forest ZoneMuch of the interior has boreal forest, comprised of spruce and hardwood trees such as birch, aspen and poplar. This forest is the habitat of moose, wolves, bears, porcupines, sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, woodpeckers, hawks, and owls. Interspersed in the forest are lakes and rivers where loons, swans, ducks, beaver, swallows and frogs can be found. Swampy muskegs are favorite haunts of moose and insect-eating birds such as swallows, flycatchers, and warblers as well as larger predators like black bears, goshawks and gray owls. In mountain regions where alpine tundra and snow-capped peaks occur, you can find Dall sheep, caribou, marmots, bears, wolves, ptarmigan, and golden eagles.

Tundra Zone

This treeless coastal zone is comprised primarily of wet, moist and alpine tundra, a mixture of grasses, sedges, moss, lichens, low shrubs, and other plants. Wet and moist tundra contains standing water, at least part of the year, and caribou, musk ox, brown bear, foxes, shorebirds, swans, loons, jaegers, snowy owls, and waterfowl can be found in certain areas. The drier alpine tundra occurs along slopes and at higher elevations where caribou, wolves, brown bears, ptarmigan, plovers, gyrfalcons, Asian and other songbirds can be seen. Taller shrub thickets occur along river courses where moose, bears, ptarmigan, and a variety of songbirds occur.

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