Far above the creekside trail a bald eagle circles. Her prey, unaware, slowly swims upstream. In the blink of an eye the eagle dives, talons open, barely touches the water and effortlessly grabs the fish. As she flies away with a tight grip on her dinner, onlookers gasp at the grace and majesty of the bird.
Anchoragee is filled with wildlife. Moose, fox, bear, and lynx all call the city home. A leisurely stroll down the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail treats visitors to a single loon, slowly gliding across the water. A hike through Kincaid Park leads to a moose and calf quietly sitting in the brush. A drive down the Turnagain Arm reveals Dall sheep and mountain goats munching on tender grass.
Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound glacier and wildlife cruises are a perfect day trip from Anchorage, and both areas boast an abundance of marine and land wildlife. Humpback whales, orcas, porpoises, Steller sea lions, sea otters, seals, bear, moose, puffins and other shorebirds are often seen from deck.
For a guaranteed wildlife viewing experience, visit the zoo or a wildlife center. In one place, visitors can see musk ox from the Arctic, wolves from the interior and lynx from Southcentral. There are also interpretative displays talking about the animal’s habitat.
Tips for wildlife viewing
- Bring binoculars. Many times animals are high up in the mountain or trees. By looking through binoculars while watching the waters of Cook Inlet, you might just spot a beluga whale.
- Scan landscapes slowly. Watch for movement and unusual colors.
- Download or purchase wildlife identification booklet. The State of Alaska provides checklists and brochures on wildlife that help identify what animals live in which region of the state.
- Head out at times the animals are most likely to be out. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times for wildlife viewing.
- Settle in and watch. Don’t be in a hurry to move on. You might learn something by watching a moose eat or an eagle soar.
- Safety first. Wild animals are, wild. They need their space and don’t want to be petted. Educate yourself on the warning signs that animals display when they feel threatened.