Nature & Wildlife

Nature & Wildlife


Nature & Wildlife of Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve hosts a coastal ecological community that is as extensive and diverse as anywhere! Glacial retreat has afforded the land to provide a habitat for a myriad of plant and animal life.

When visiting the park, both on land and on the Glacier Bay Day Boat Tour, be sure keep an eye out for the following watchable wildlife.

On the Land | In the Sea | In the Air | Cornell Lab Bird Tracking


On the Land


Bears: both black bears and brown bears are found throughout Alaska. Bears are common and may be seen on the shore and in the forest and meadows. During your boat tour, you may be lucky enough to spot a mama bear with her cubs foraging on the beaches of Glacier Bay or a bear fishing along a stream.

Mountain Goats: as your boat tour approaches the steep cliffs and rocky outcrops near the sea, you may spot some mountain goats roaming the park. Their hooves allow them to scramble up the rock faces and navigate near vertical cliffs with ease.

Moose: these solitary land animals enjoy woody vegetation as the mainstay of their diet. In Glacier Bay they enjoy shoots from willow and birch trees.

Wolves: if you’re really lucky you may spot a wolf making its way along the shoreline during your boat tour. There are several packs that make the park their home.


In the Sea


Steller Sea Lions: much larger and lighter in color than California Sea Lions, male Steller Sea Lions can grow to be almost 2500 pounds! In Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, they congregate on South Marble Island.

Whales: watch throughout your boat tour for Humpback, Grey, Minkes and Orcas in Glacier Bay. These fascinating mammals feast in the rich waters of Alaska before migrating back to Hawaii in the winter.

Sea Otters: in order to maintain its body weight, the sea otter must eat 25% of its body weight per day. They dine on sea urchins, crabs, mussels, fish and other marine life. Sea otters have the densest hair coat of any mammal – with close to a million hairs per square inch!

Harbor Seals: the Glacier Bay harbor seals can be found lounging on ice near the glaciers and swimming throughout the park. They can dive up to 500 meters and remain submerged for over 20 minutes. If you’re on a kayaking adventure, you may find a curious one following you.


In the Air


Black Legged Kittiwakes: named for their call, “kittee-wa-aake, kitee-wa-akke,” these are a common variety of gull that live in Northern Oceans and are rare inland.

Puffins: known for their brightly colored beak, Tufted Puffins colonies congregate in Glacier Bay and along the coast. A few Horned Puffins also nest in the park each year.

Eagles: Bald Eagles are common along bays and rivers, especially when the fish are running.


Cornell Lab Bird Tracking

Interested in seeing the latest list of birds that have been recently spotted in Glacier Bay National Park? In partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, you can now get the inside scoop on which birds you might see during your next visit!

View Latest List