Sunday, March 9, 2008

New Bird for Montana

On March 6th Jim and Lark Greaves stopped along the Bull River in northwestern Montana and took a few photos of the Greater Scaup, Redheads, and Ring-necked Ducks. That night while reviewing his photos Jim noticed that one of the "scaup" looked different and thought it might be a Tufted Duck. It was. The next day a number of birders made their way to the spot and found this distinctive looking bird, Montana's first documented Tufted Duck (pending acceptance from the Montana Bird Records Committee).

Tufted Duck - photo by Dan Casey (thanks Dan).

This species was ranked as the 2nd species to be found next in Montana in a 2003 exercises Dan Casey pulled together with input from a number of birders familiar with birds on the state. Number one was the Lesser Black-backed Gull which still has yet to be definitively documented in the state.


Patia said...

Not being a birder, I'm curious what the implications are for this find. Does it mean that the bird's been here all along and no one's noticed, or that it's new to this area?

John Carlson said...

Hi Patia,
In this case, this species had never been observed in MT before. The only implication is that those of us infected with the birding afliction now have another bird added to the list of birds that have been observed in MT.
Speculation is that this particular bird may have spent the winter at this spot and was only now observed. Hope this makes sense and let me know if you have any other questions.

Patia said...

Thanks. Mostly I was just wondering if it was another harbinger of global warming.