Kittlitz's Murrelet

The Kittlitz's Murrelet is a rare seabird found in Alaska. Most of its nesting grounds are found near glaciers in the Prince William Sound, the Kenai peninsula, and some of the Aleutian Islands. 

This rare little bird feeds close to the shore on fish such as krill. They get their prey by diving into the ocean. Not a lot is known about this bird including nesting behaviors, lifespan, and raising of its chicks. Orinthologists (bird scientists) are not even sure where the bird migrates to in the winter months, if at all. They know that they disappear with the snow in the winter months and reemerge in the springtime, but to where, remains a mystery. 

Although this bird is not currently on the endangered species list, the decrease in its numbers are alarming scientists. The Kittlitz's Murrelet depends on glaciers for its habitat and the effects of global warming have reduced its natural environment due to melting glacier ice. An estimated 5-10% of the population was wiped out in the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989.

For all you birders out there, on your next visit to the Last Frontier, try to spot one of these rare little flyers!