Which animal is usually placed at the top of a totem pole?
There are a lot of bird figures atop totem poles, but other animals or objects can appear there, too. It should be noted that there are no restrictions on arrangement of the figures on this symbolic device. Sometimes the more important figure is at the top, sometimes at the bottom, and sometimes in the middle. It depends on the carver and the circumstances. Wikipedia has a well-written article on these artifacts, and a link is provided. Why not surf on over and skim the post? The pictures alone are worth the trip.
The "story pole" is misnamed a "totem' pole due to a misunderstanding of its purpose by the settlers when they first encountered them. A 'totem' is a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem. Which is a very paternalistic and condescending attitude typical of colonising people towards those they encounter.