[Tweeters] Eurasian Wigeon -North America breeding?

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Tue Mar 10 11:13:40 PDT 2015


Good morning,

I agree that seeing large numbers of Eurasian Wigeons in western Washington,
while wonderful, is not necessarily indicative of breeding in North America.

On the other hand, it does raise the question of how there are so many American x Eurasian Wigeon hybrids out there. They are still rare in comparison to pure birds, but they certainly are there.

Since there is no half-way point (there is no Kind-of-New World where wigeons frolic and nest),
one of them must nest on the other's territory. And with all those American-Eurasian pairs out there somewhere, isn't there the chance that a member of one species would find another and make a pure-species pair?
That is why I think that there is likely a Eurasian Wigeon pair nesting on the Alaskan tundra.

This all just speculation based on deduction and common sense. But it does make sense, if you think about it.

And Eurasian Wigeons are increasing in North America! Since Bramblings and Whooper Swans nested on Attu in 1996, White-tailed Eagles on Attu throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wood Sandpipers also on Attu in 1973, "Black-backed" White Wagtails under a bridge on Attu's Peaceful River in 1983, and even Code-5 Lanceolated Warblers on Buldir in 2007, it seems sound to think that Eurasian Wigeons, more regular in North America than these birds, might already be nesting.

Red-necked Stints, Bluethroats and White and Eastern Yellow Wagtails are also rare breeders in northwestern Alaska.

And on the other side of the continent, Little and Black-headed Gulls both are rare nesters,
in the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay region, and Newfoundland, respectively; the Black-headeds
are more common than the Littles, from what I've heard.

Reference sources for the Aleutian Palearctic nesters I mentioned:

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v100n01/p0162-p0164.pdf

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wb/v39n01/p0002-p0007.pdf

And here, you can listen to a family of Red-necked Stints, fledglings and adults, foraging, singing and calling beside Teller Road on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska.

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/176409

Again, this is just guesswork based on my current knowledge of biogeography and the Wigeons' life history. But it bears investigation! Maybe this will be the year when a birder and/or scientist (the terms can be interchangeable when it comes to ornithology and citizen science) will find the first record of Eurasian Wigeon breeding in North America.

Adding insights to this conversation on one of my favorite birds, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com



> On Mar 9, 2015, at 9:21 PM, Bob Sundstrom <ixoreus at scattercreek.com> wrote:

>

> Hi, Jack,

>

> There seem to be a few particular American Wigeon flocks in the PNW that in winter have a high proportion of Eurasians mixed in, especially at Samish Flats and Roberts Bank in B.C. I've seen as many as 50 in one flock on the Samish Flats some winters, many as male/female pairs. But I don't think this is necessarily evidence of North American breeding. On the Asian side, I'm still looking for my first American Wigeon in Japan after leading three winter tours there and seeing thousands of Eurasian Wigeons.

>

> Bob

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Jack Stephens

> Sent: Monday, March 09, 2015 8:33 PM

> To: Tweeters

> Subject: [Tweeters] Eurasian Wigeon -North America breeding?

>

> I have become used to Eurasian Wigeons becoming more common over the years. This weekend however, I saw something that was new, at least for me. In a flock of American Wigeon, between the West 90 and Samish Island, was an American Wigeon flock with at least 16 Eurasian Wigeons mixed in. With this high number, it raises the questions as to whether all of these birds are from Asia, or if they are now starting to breed in North America. Does anyone know of new information about this?

>

> Jack Stephens

> Edmonds, WA

> jstephens62 at comcast.net

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