Look Closer . . . Barren Islands
far from "barren"
teem with marine life
Named the Barren Islands by Captain James Cook in 1778,
these islands between Kodiak and Homer are far from barren of life. Here the waters
of Cook Inlet violently collide with the Gulf of Alaska. The churning currents
mix a rich gumbo of food. Nesting seabirds feast with shearwaters from New Zealand,
sea otters, sea lions, humpback whales, and giant halibut to feast.
Seabird Nesting Area
The seven named islands in this group host the
largest gathering of nesting seabirds in the northern Gulf of Alaska. More than
a half million breeding seabirds represent 18 species.
swirl above most of the islands after dark and are the most abundant seabird.
Tufted puffins are the most common birds seen during the day.
East Amatuli Islands has one of the only two northern
fulmar colonies in the northern Gulf of Alaska.
Busy from Cliffs
Tens of thousands of murres and kittiwakes nest on the cliffs
of East Amatuli and Nord islands. The second largest Steller sea lion rookery
in the region is located on Sugarloaf Island. Because these marine mammals are
endangered, access is restricted within three nautical miles of Sugarloaf Island.
and Trees Lure More
Brant and other waterfowl stop at Ushagat Island
which has salt water lagoon habitat as well as stands of spruce used by crossbills
and other forest birds.
Last updated: July 14, 2009