Spring migration routes and chronology of surf scoters (Melanitta perspicillata): A synthesis of Pacific coast studies

Canadian Journal of Zoology
By: , and 



Understanding interconnectivity among wintering, stopover, and breeding areas of migratory birds is pivotal to discerning how events occurring in each might have a cross-seasonal effect on another. Such information can guide the location and timing of conservation efforts. Thus, we examined spring migration routes, chronology, and stopover use of 85 surf scoters (Melanitta perspicillata (L., 1758)) marked with satellite transmitters at four Pacific Flyway wintering sites: San Quintin Bay, Baja California; San Francisco Bay, California; Puget Sound, Washington; and Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Eighty-three percent of marked scoters followed two main routes to the breeding area: a Southern Inland route involving staging in Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia and protracted inland migration, or a Northern Coastal route characterized by short movements along the Pacific coast of British Columbia and southeast Alaska with inland migration initiating from Lynn Canal and surrounding areas. Route choice was related to nesting site latitude in the Canadian Northern Boreal Forest. Data from birds tracked over 2 years indicated strong migration route fidelity, but altered chronology and stopover locations between years. Departure date varied by wintering site, but arrival and apparent settling dates were synchronous, suggesting individuals adjusted migration timing to meet an optimized reproductive schedule.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Spring migration routes and chronology of surf scoters (Melanitta perspicillata): A synthesis of Pacific coast studies
Series title Canadian Journal of Zoology
DOI 10.1139/Z09-099
Volume 87
Issue 11
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Canadian Science Publishing
Publisher location Ottawa, Ontario
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Western Ecological Research Center
Description 18 p.
First page 1069
Last page 1086
Country Canada, United States
State British Columbia, California, Washington
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