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eBird maps show where to find Surf Scoter this October

Surf Scoter
Surf Scoter in Oregon in December, by Gary Miller.

In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Surf Scoter, pictured above, in our October 2016 issue.

Surf Scoter

Surf Scoter
January 2005-15 (left); October 2005-15 (right)

Most Surf Scoters winter in shallow waters along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. During the nonbreeding season, the ducks may occur in small groups or flocks hundreds of birds strong. Areas of particularly high winter abundance (left) include portions of coastal southeastern Alaska, Puget Sound of Washington, San Francisco Bay, California, and Chesapeake Bay. Surf Scoters breed near boreal-forest lakes from western Alaska to eastern Quebec. Although few nests have been described to date, the species seems to prefer nesting under large rocks and fallen trees in forested upland areas well away from wetlands.

By October (right), many individuals have begun migrating south and should be looked for along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, throughout the Great Lakes, and on larger lakes and reservoirs far inland from the ocean.

See eBird’s real-time distribution map for Surf Scoter.

See photos of Surf Scoter.

eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the October 2016 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.



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