Sunday, February 18, 2024 Alaska Sealife Center Eiders, Smew

Seward, Alaska


Cautions about avian flu have kept the aviary doors closed at the ASLC, but today all I had to do was step on the specially treated mats before entering a magical world.


Many of the birds, like the HORNED and TUFTED PUFFINS, were still in drab winter plumage. But the SPECTACLED EIDER, KING EIDER, and STELLER’S EIDER paraded about in their breeding plumage finery. Such spectacular colors and patterns! 


The females also sported a subtle dash of class: the iridescent blue speculum of the Steller’s Eider, and a glossy blue bill for the Spectacled Eider. 


The elegant and striking black on white “cracked ice” pattern of the drake SMEW needed no colors to impress. The demure hen followed in his magnificent wake.


These spectacular seabirds brightened my afternoon on an otherwise overcast and dim day.


Happy Birding!

Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter 

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