Though many world joke that the mosquito is the Alaskan state bird, in fact it is the much more pleasant Willow Ptarmigan. In 1955 – before Alaska was a state – the Territory’s leader in fee of drafting a constitution allowed schoolchildren to pick what would certainly eventually end up being the state bird. The willow Ptarmigan to be officially designated in 1960, once Alaska entered the union.

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There are three species of ptarmigan, all discovered in Alaska. The willow Ptarmigan, i beg your pardon is the many numerous, can likewise be discovered in Russia, Finland, Scandinavia, and also Canada. The birds are almost totally white in the winter to mix in v the snowy landscape, when in the summer the females are mottled brown and the males sports deep brown necks, brown flecks follow me their bodies, and also red “eyebrows.” In enhancement to white plumage, these ptarmigans likewise grow feathers follow me the size of your feet, acting like snowshoes together they walk throughout newly collapse snow.

Unlike various other grouse species, the masculine Willow Ptarmigan remains with the female transparent the reproduction season to help raise the chicks. After the young room independent, the birds will certainly gather together during winter months; these flocks deserve to number in the thousands.

Because of the tundra habitat they speak to home, their food sources consist that the “buds, twigs, leaves, and also seeds” discovered there. Unsurprisingly, given their name, these birds will certainly rely heavily on pasture plants, as well as alder and birch. Castle can likewise eat berries and also insects; as soon as the chicks are very first born they will certainly eat insects exclusively.

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Partners in Flight estimates that over there are nearly 50 million breeding Willow Ptarmigan transparent the world. The these, 24% spend component of the year in Canada, while one more 18% spend part of the year in the unified States. Lock are also rarely spotted furthermore south: in April that 2014, Corey witnessed one in new York (he additionally took the photograph above)!

Willow Ptarmigan calls are apparently favorites through Steven Spielberg. They have been provided not just in Jurassic World, but likewise in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Ark, despite the last movie’s setup in the jungle!


Erika Zambello is a National geographical Young traveler who flourished up in Maine, inspiring a deep interest in nature at very early age. She fell in love with birding ~ receiving a Sibley field guide because that Christmas throughout her senior year in college, and has birded across the eastern seaboard and internationally ever before since. To inspire others to protect birds and the environment, she has blogged for the preservation Fund, buy it P. Fight it out Gardens, Triangle land Conservancy, and also Duke University, and also is writing a birding guide to Northern brand-new England because that Wilderness Adventures Press. She has started, and is at this time living follow me the Emerald coast in Florida"s Panhandle. Friend can examine out her expedition site or follow she on Instragram.