[Tweeters] two responses about Surf Scoters

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Tue Nov 5 12:53:46 PST 2013

After a month in Brazil, I'm too busy catching up to read tweeters, but two posts on Surf Scoters were called to my attention, and I read them.

To Jeff: that wing-up landing is part of a male Surf Scoter's courtship flight, and the fact that you think it's so characteristic of them just shows how randy male ducks are - courtship courtship courtship courtship all the time, with the proximate goal of pair bonding and the ultimate goal of leaving genetic material in the next generation. It would be interesting to record the frequency of wings-up as the winter progresses.

To Glenn: scoter mortality seems to be a regular annual affair on the outer coast, but I don't know how much it varies. Gary Shugart of the Slater Museum might be able to enlighten us about this if he reads this and has the time. A few years ago he wrote something about it on the Slater Museum blog, Northwest Nature Notes: http://slatermuseum.blogspot.com/search/label/scoters

The many birds he found dead in September 2009 were in molt, and presumably molt in scoters is finished now, so it may not have played a part in the mortality you found.

Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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