Pigeon Guillemot

Cepphus columba

A year-round resident of the Pribilof Islands, though there is no evidence that it breeds locally, this species can easily be found at most times of the year. It is most common in spring, during the second half of May, as the birds move between their wintering grounds at sea and the mainland or other islands where they breed. Individuals and small groups are regularly seen into late spring, but only occasionally seen during the summer (late June to August) when sightings are irregular and often quite rare during July and early August. This species becomes regular again by late August or early September during the fall. Small numbers are regularly noted through September and October, though they remain less reliable than in the spring, and can be found in increasing numbers as the fall progresses into early winter. Large numbers of this species likely do not occur until very late fall or early winter as the species heads out to sea with over-wintering numbers dependent on the extent of sea ice as they may remain common throughout the winter or disperse further south with fewer found around the islands.

An individual of the subspecies snowi, which breeds in the Kuril Islands of Russia, has not been substantiated from North America but was reported during spring 2002.

Photo by Nat Drumheller
Photo by Ryan P. O’Donnell