The evaluation of habitats used by arctic birds on migration is crucial for their conservation. We explored the importance of the eastern Chukchi Sea (ECS) as a staging area for king eiders (Somateria spectabilis) migrating between breeding areas in Siberia and western North America and wintering areas in the Bering Sea. We tracked 190 king eiders with satellite transmitters between 1997 and 2007. In late summer, 74% of satellite-tracked king eiders migrating south staged in the ECS for 13 ?? 13 (SD) days between late June and early November. During spring migration, king eiders staged in the ECS between mid-April and early June for 21 ?? 10 days. All instrumented birds migrating to breeding grounds in western North America (n = 62), and 6 of 11 males migrating to breeding grounds in Siberia, used this area for at least 1 week during spring migration. The importance of this staging area renders it possible that industrial development could adversely affect king eider populations in both Siberia and North America. ?? 2009 US Government.
Additional publication details
International importance of the eastern Chukchi Sea as a staging area for migrating king eiders