Find the Black Scoter with the help of eBird

Black Scoters
black scoterA rare sighting of Black Scoters in Austin, Texas. Photo by Lora Render

In On the Move, our regular migration column, we feature pairs of range maps from eBird that you can use to compare where birds of interest are at different times of the year. We featured the Black Scoter, pictured above, in our November/December 2018 issue.

Black Scoter MapsMaps from eBird show where Common Scoters have been seen in June (left) and December.

A northern Arctic waterbird, the Black Scoter remains one of North America’s least known sea ducks, largely due to its remote and scattered breeding range in western Alaska. and northern Canada. In June, Black Scoters are found in two main regions: western and northern Alaska and northern Ontario and Quebec, where they breed in small, shallow lakes and ponds relatively close to the side. In December, when the breeding lakes have frozen over, the birds can be seen along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts; particularly high concentrations are found in parts of coastal Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington State, as well as from Maine south to Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Black Scoters will also show up inland; look for them on large lakes and reservoirs with other scoters and diving ducks.

View eBird’s real-time range maps for Black Scoters.

eBird is the real-time online checklist maintained 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 on

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the November/December 2018 issue of BirdWatching.

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