The eastern Gulf of Alaska coastline is suspected of providing an important pathway for birds migrating to and from Alaska. Because no intensive study of landbird migration has been conducted in this region, we used mist nets to study the post-breeding migration of landbirds along the coast from 1994 through 1999. Over six post-breeding periods, we netted for a total of 316 days (23,538 net-hr) and captured 13,490 individuals of 46 species (57.3 birds/100 net-hr). Six species constituted >65% of all captures (ordered by abundance): Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata), Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus), Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula), Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca), and Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia). Most birds captured (71%) were Nearctic-Neotropical migrants, and percentages of hatching-year (HY) birds varied from 51 to 90% among common species. Daily capture rates of all species were highest between mid-August and mid-September. Migration of HY individuals preceded that of after-hatching-year (AHY) birds in 70% of the Nearctic-Neotropical species. Masses of HY Nearctic-Neotropical migrants were significantly less than those of AHY individuals. High capture rates and consistent annual use indicate that the eastern Gulf of Alaska coast is an important pathway for many small landbird migrants, particularly Nearctic-Neotropical species, departing breeding grounds in southern Alaska.
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Vol. 117 • No. 3