Enjoy amazing wildlife

Expect to see some amazing wildlife on your trip. Below are some of the common animals seen along with some details about them.

Arctic Tern

Sterna paradisaea

Arctic terns have a black cap on their head and their bill and feet are bright red. Their tail is distinctively forked in flight. They can be found near glacial moraines, beaches, lakes, rivers and tidal flats.

Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus levcocephalus

The bald eagle, the symbol of the United States, is the largest of North America’s raptors. They weigh up to 13 pounds and have a wingspan of seven feet. The white head and tail develop at maturity, which is around 4-6 years of age.

Black Bear

Ursus Americanus

The black bear has a color range from black, brown, beige, cinnamon and, in rare cases, white. Oftentimes you will also see a black bear with a white mark on its chest. They can be found in open plains, forests, on beaches and near salmon spawning streams.

Black-Legged Kittiwakes

Rissa tridactyla

This small member of the gull family is commonly seen in the hundreds over their crowded nesting areas. They have black legs and ink-black wing tips. Kittiwakes build their summer nests of seaweed and mud on sheer rock cliffs.


Phalacrocoracidae family

Cormorants nest in  Prince William Sound.  They have no protective oils and their feathers soak up water, which gives them neutral buoyancy as they dive and paddle for fish. You can spot them on shore spreading their wings to dry.

Dall’s Porpoises

Phocoenoides dalli

Dall’s porpoise have a very shiny, black body with large white patches on their sides. Usually, the dorsal fin has a white tip. They can be found in inshore waters and are usually attracted to the bow wake of the boat.

Gray Whales

Eschrichtius robustus

Gray whales are quite large, growing up to 46 feet in length, and are mottled gray in color. If seen, gray whales are generally spotted in the spring months in Prince William Sound.

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

The great blue heron is identified easily with their long neck and wingspan reaching six feet. Their body is blue-gray. They can be found in saltwater beaches, salmon spawning streams, shallow lakes, tidal sloughs and freshwater ponds.

Harbor Seals

Phoca vitulina

Harbor seals, with round heads and large eyes, are not as social as sea lions. Females with pups are often seen on glacial ice chunks  near glaciers. They can dive up to 600 feet to retrieve their food. With their short front flippers, they are not agile or safe on land.

Humpback Whales

Megaptera novaeangliae

Humpback whales are baleen feeders, feeding mostly on plankton and krill and consuming nearly a ton of food a day. They migrate 6,000 miles to reach their summer feeding grounds in Alaska. Humpbacks average 45 feet in length and weigh 35-40 tons.


Gaviidae family

Many types of loons are seen in Prince William Sound, including the Red-throated, Pacific and Common Loons.

Minke Whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Minke whales are black or dark gray on top with white on the underside of the belly and flippers. They can be found in inlets, bays, estuaries and open seas. The minke whale is considered a shy whale, and generally when one is spotted only one or two dives are seen.

Mountain Goats

Oreamnos americanus

Mountain goats can only be found in western North America. They have long wool coats that shed in the spring and summer. Their horns are pointed and slender, and they never shed their horns. These hardy animals are right at home on steep slopes with at 50-60% grade (for comparison, stairs in homes are at 30%). They have split hooves and strong legs, keeping them safe from their predators on the sheer mountainsides.


Alcid family

Pictured here is a thick-billed murre, which is a rare sight in Prince William Sound. We most often see the common murre, which is identified by their dark neck and head and white underparts. They are usually seen near coastal sea cliffs and islands.

Orcas/Killer Whales

Orcinus orca

Orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, reaching up to 30 feet in length and weighing between 4 and 6 tons. Nicknamed “killer whale,” orcas feed on fish and other mammals. They can reach speeds of 30 mph and travel in family groups or pods, showing a highly evolved social structure.


Haematopus bachmani

Oystercatchers have a dark brown body with a black neck and head, a bright red bill, and pink-colored legs and feet. They use their unique bill to eat a variety of shellfish and marine worms. Oystercatchers can be found near the beach, particularly on rocky shores and reefs.

Pigeon Guillemot

Cepphus columba

The pigeon guillemot is a member of the alcid family. They have a black body with a white wing patch and bright red feet. They can be found in inshore marine waters and nest in cliff crevices.


Alcid family

With their parrot-like beaks and wearing their bright mating plumage, puffins come to shore only to nest and raise their single chick. When it comes time to eat, they flap their wings and “fly” through the water, pursuing the small fish making up their diet and bring three or four fish at a time to their young.

Sea Otters

Enhydra lutris

Known as the “Old Man of the Sea,” sea otters are the largest members of the weasel family in North America. Males can weigh up to 100 pounds, as sea otters consume nearly 25% of their weight daily. When they’re not eating, they float on their backs to groom and rest.

Steller Sea Lions

Eumetopias jubatus

Large Steller sea lion males average 1,200 pounds while females average up to 650 pounds. They eat during the night so they can sun and rest on rocks during the day. The Bull Head colony is mostly made up of bachelors and are noted for their boisterous bellowing.

Surf Scoter

Melanitta perspicillata

The surf scoter is a member of the duck family. The males have a solid black body, with white patches on the back of their head and forehead, and a beautiful, brightly colored bill. Female surf scoters are brown with pale white spots on the side of their head. Both can be seen in inshore marine waters.