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 Wood Duck, pictured above, in our April 2018 issue.
Wood Duck, one of eight species of North American duck that regularly nest in cavities, is a common inhabitant of freshwater marshes, swamps, and calm backwater pools in forested regions of the United States and Canada. The maps above show where eBird users reported it in April and January over the last 10 years. In April, it can be found in breeding habitat across most of the lower 48 states and southern Canada, although its distribution in the Southwest is patchy. On the April map, dots in Mexico represent rare records of stragglers still in the winter range. By January, Wood Duck has vacated the more northerly regions of the breeding range, especially areas prone to deep cold spells and ice-up of water bodies, but it can still be found throughout most of the continental U.S. Listen for the distinctive whistles of vocalizing individuals and the wing-whistles produced by birds in flight.
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 ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the April 2018 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe