There are around 89 living species, which are divided into two parvoders. The first is the Odontoceti, the toothed whales, which consist of around 70 species. The most common species seen here are orca, harbor porpoise, Dall’s porpoise, and sperm whales. The second is the Mysticeti, the baleen whales which have a filter-feeder system. This group consists of these species most commonly seen here in SE Alaska; gray, humpback, and minke.
Birds are a group of endothermic (warm-blooded) vertebrates. They rank as the world’s most numerically-successful class of tetrapods (four-limbed). With approximately 10,000 living species, Alaska is a birder’s paradise thanks to its diversity of habitats, location on migratory routes, and boundless wildlands. Nearly 500 bird species populate or pass through the Great Land seeking breeding, overwintering, resting, and refueling sites.
A widely distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semi-aquatic, marine mammals. They comprise the extant families Odobenidae (whose only living member is the walrus), Otariidae (the eared seals: sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (the earless seals, or true seals). The most common species of Pinnipeds seen in our waters are harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and California sea lions.
The sea otter is the heaviest member of the weasel family but among the smallest of marine mammals. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter’s primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. Similarly, the coastal brown bear is the largest distinct subspecies of brown bears. It is medium-hued, typically not as dark as most forms from eastern Asia, but distinctly darker than grizzly bears. The brown bear is often described as nocturnal. However, it frequently seems to peak in activity in the morning and early evening hours.