Trees don’t normally grow on Unalaska, so the Sitka spruce grove that was planted by Russians in 1805 is quite special. In fact, it’s a National Historic Landmark since it is the earliest known example of establishing a forest in North America. But that’s not why birders typically come here.
Some birds that wind up in Unalaska are “accidentals” that have been blown off course by storms. If they are used to living in forests, there’s only one place to head: Sitka Spruce Park, known to local birders as a “migrant trap” for unusual birds. Once in the groves, these birds will tend to hang out, so it’s easy to observe their behavior over days or weeks.
In 2014, the Eurasian Siskin – a “Code 5” bird that had only been spotted in North America twice before – found its way to the Sitka spruce grove and stayed for months. This was considered a “megararity,” and birders from all over the country came to pay the little yellow seed-eater a visit and add it to their life lists.
Wonder what you’ll find at Sitka Spruce Park?