Seabird Aviary

North America's deepest seabird diving habitat (21-½ feet deep) is home to ten different species of seabirds—eight of which dive under the water—and you'll get closer to these birds than you ever could in the wild. Here you'll find King Eiders, Long-tail Ducks, Black Oystercatchers, Common Murres, Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Horned Puffins, Harlequin ducks, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Red-legged Kittiwakes. You'll see the ducks diving for food by using their feet to propel themselves. Other birds, like the murres and puffins, can actually fly underwater. They flap their wings to move faster and go deeper than other diving birds. And they love doing it: their bodies have adapted to spending almost all of their lives out on the open ocean, only coming back to land to breed. Look for the Pigeon Guillemots; they're small, but they're fast and agile—they can dive down to 150 feet. And the Common Murre can dive almost as deep as the penguin, going down 600 feet while holding their breath for only two minutes.

And you can't miss Charles, the male King Eider, due to his spectacular breeding plumage: steel-blue head and forest green under the eyes, fading to a white throat and cream-colored chest. (He'll begin to lose this colorful plumage as the summer mating season comes to an end; his feathers will turn black and white.) The female King Eiders, who are varying colors of chestnut brown and black, look very plain next to Charles. These muted colors are essential in providing camouflage from predators while the females incubate their eggs.

If you'd like to get closer to these birds—and even help feed them—ask at the front desk about the Puffin Encounter, available twice a day during the summer.

Getting There