Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Surf Scoter

Surf Scoters breed across Alaska and northern Canada. They winter off the coasts of North America. Erika and I found this pair at the Woodward Bay Preserve on 18 December 2020. We are always impressed with the clown-faced male Surf Scoter. I was surprised by the brown bird’s white nape and had assumed it was an immature male. But a white nape is typical of an adult female. The male and the female appeared to be paired, which is typical for the species. Pairs migrate together to breeding sites, although males leave the nesting area after a few weeks—the females do all the incubating of eggs. Meanwhile males depart to coastal molting sites and later migrate to their wintering range. Females leave their nesting areas before their young leave the area (Anderson et al. 2020).

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