From isolated arctic breeding grounds, the Greater Scaup migrates considerably south for the winter, with many birds traveling as far as the Gulf Coast. These movements typically take place in flocks. Though occasionally seen with Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup typically flock together in single-species groups.
Both male and female Greater Scaup frequently return to the same breeding area in subsequent years. Cold and wet weather is a significant source of mortality for young scaup, but those that survive can live a long time. The record known age for a wild bird is 22 years
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Description of the Greater Scaup
The Greater Scaup is a large duck with a rounded head shape. Its large, bluish bill has a black tip. Greenish-black head. Black breast and white sides. Length: 18 in. Wingspan: 28 in.
Brownish plumage. White area between bill and eyes.
Seasonal change in appearance
Eclipse plumage males become much browner.
Similar to adult females.
Open bays, large rivers, and lakes.
Mollusks and aquatic plants.
Forages by diving underwater or by dabbling.
Breeds in Alaska and at similar latitudes across Canada. Winters along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as scattered inland locations.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Greater Scaup.
The shape of a bird’s wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species’ identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Because Greater and Lesser Scaup look so similar, especially when doing aerial waterfowl population surveys, it is difficult to distinguish population trends in Greater Scaup.
Greater Scaup occasionally congregate in flocks of over 10,000 birds during the winter.
A hoarse series of notes is given when disturbed.
- Lesser Scaup
The breeding-plumage male Lesser Scaup has a purplish head gloss. Lesser Scaup have smaller bills and a smaller black tip to the bill, and a more peaked crown shape. Female shown here.
The nest is a depression lined with plants and down.
Incubation and fledging:
– Young hatch at 24-28 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) shortly after hatching but remain with the female for some time.
Bent Life History of the Greater Scaup
Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.
Bent Life History for the Greater Scaup – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.
FULIX MARILA NEARCTICA (Stejneger)
The scaup duck of Europe, which is closely related to or perhaps identical with our own bird, was so named, according to some of the earlier writers, on account of its habit of feeding on the beds of broken shellfish which are locally called scaup; but it is equally fair to assume that its name may have been chosen from its resemblance to one of its characteristic notes. The two American species of scaup ducks resemble each other in general appearance and almost intergrade in size and color, so much so that they have often been confused; still intelligent gunners have long recognized two species of “bluebills,” one larger and one smaller. The subject of this sketch is known to the gunners as the “big bluebill,” “big blackhead,” and a variety of other names. It is very distinct from the lesser scaup in its distribution and habits; it breeds much farther north over a much wider area, which is practically circumpolar; its migration routes are quite different; and its winter home is mainly on our more northern seacoasts, where it is more of a salt-water duck than its smaller relative.
Spring: From its principal winter home on the Atlantic coast the spring migration is decidedly northwestward, through the Great Lake region to the interior of Canada and Alaska; there is also a north- ward migration up the Mississippi Valley and another northward, and perhaps northeastward, from the Pacific coast. The species breeds abundantly in northern Alaska, but we do not know positively whether all of these birds have migrated from Pacific coast winter resorts or not. Dr. F. Henry Yorke (1899) says of the spring migration in the central valleys:
The first issue stays but a short time, soon passing northward as fast as the ice disappears, for they rarely leave the frost line until the ice has departed, working up in the interior, through the lakes and overflowed bottoms below St. Louis, following be- hind the ringbills. Some years they arrive in great numbers, while at other seasons they are very few. They prefer still to running water; naturally, large ponds and lakes, bayous, bays, and inlets are their favorite resorts.
Courtship: The courtship of the scaup duck is described by Mr. John G. Millais (1913) as follows:
The male scaup anxious to pair approaches the female with head and neck held up to their fullest extent, the bill being raised in the air to an angle of 50 deg to 6O deg. If the female responds to this she also lifts the neck stiffly, at the same time uttering a croon- ing sort of note like the words Tuc-tue-turro-tuc. If alarmed, or pretending to be so, she swims away quickly with powerful strokes, uttering her quacking cry, Scaar-ecaar. When paired the female often comes up to the male and bows her head gently several times. The actual show of the male is a quick throw up of the head and neck, which is greatly swollen with air as it extends. At the summit of extension the bird utters a gentle cry like the words Pa-whoo, only uttered once. As he makes this show, the female sometimes swims round him, lowering the head and dipping the bill in the surface of the water and making a gentle call, Chup-ehup, or Chup-chup-cherr-err. Quite as frequently the cry of the male is uttered after the head is raised and slightly lowered. The male also utters a very low whistle. Except the harsh loud cry of the female, all these calls of pairing scaup are very low in tone, and the spectator must be within a few yards of the birds to hear them.
Nesting: The best known, and probably the most populous, breeding grounds of the greater scaup duck are in northern Alaska. Dr. Joseph Grinnell (1900) describes three nests, which he found in the Kotzebue Sound region, as follows:
In the Kowak Delta this species was quite common in June, and on the 14th of that month I took a set of 11 fresh eggs, also securing the female as she flushed from the nest. This nest was on a high, dry hummock, about 10 yards from the edge of a lake. It was almost hidden from view by tall, dead grass of the previous years growth. The eggs rested on a bed of finely broken grass stems, while the rim of the nest was indicated by a narrow margin of down. A second set of 10 fresh eggs was taken on the same day and the nest was similar in construction, but was out on the tundra between two lakes, and fully a quarter of a mile from either. A set of seven fresh eggs taken on the 15th was quite differently situated. The nest was almost without feathers or down, and consisted of a neat saucer of matted dry grass blades, supported among standing marsh grass and about 4 inches above the water. It was in a broad, marshy swab about 30 feet from a small pond of open water. The swale was drained into the main river channel by a slough, so that in this case there was little danger of a rise in the water of more than an inch or two.
Mr. Hersey collected four sets for me in the vicinity of St. Michael in 1915. Three of the nests were more or less concealed in tufts of grass close to the shores of small ponds; the nest cavities were lined with fine, dry grass and in one case a well-formed nest of this material was made; no down was found in the newest nests containing fresh eggs, but, as incubation increased, considerable down became mixed with the grass. One nest, found June 19, was in a clump of dead flags in a pond 3 feet out from the shore and surrounded by water; the nest was made of bits of broken flags mixed with dark gray down and a few white breast feathers of the duck; it contained eight eggs.
Mr. Chase Littlejohn (1899) has published the following notes on a nesting colony of this species which he found on an island near the end of the Alaska Peninsula. He writes:
The island contains about 4 acres, one-half of which is about 50 feet above sea level; but on both the east and west ends there is quite an area only a few feet above water. These gravel points are covered for the most part with a species of salt weed less than 1 foot in height, common to the seashore of that country. Among these weeds on the west end there is a colony of about 50 pairs of scaups which have, to my knowledge, bred there for several years; while on the east end not a single nest can be found, although the conditions are practically the same. Furthermore, there is quite an area on the west end well suited to their wants; but they prefer to occupy a narrow strip along the edge of the weeds and place their nests close together, some of them not over 2 feet apart, others 10 at the most, showing that they prefer to be neighbors, I can not remember one isolated nest of Fuligula mania, and I have found many.
At the eastern extremity of its American breeding range the scaup duck has been found breeding, at least twice, in the Magdalen Islands, Quebec. Mr. Herbert K. Job found a nest, on June 29, 1900, in a small grassy islet, one of a series of small islets known as the “egg nubbles,” in the great pond near East Cape; the nest was a bed of down in the thick grass and held nine fresh eggs. I have explored this pond several times since, but have never succeeded in even see- ing a scaup duck. Rev. C. J. Young also found them breeding here in 1897 and sent Prof. John Macoun (1909) the following note, re- ceived from one of his correspondents:
I found a bluebill’s nest in a strange place, after you left me. It was in a bunch of rushes at the heal of the bay, growing in water that took me up to my middle to reach them.
The greater scaup may breed in North Dakota, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, but during our various explorations in these regions we found no positive evidence to prove it. There is, however, a posi- tive nesting record of the species farther south. Mr. W. H. Collins (1880) reported finding a nest at St. Clair Flats, Michigan, in 1879, which he identified by shooting the female.
The nest was built in a tuft of flags and composed of rushes and wild rice lined with some down and feathers. It was situated similarly to the redheads’ nest resting in the water, and being held in place by the tuft of flags in which it was built.
The down in the nest of the scaup duck is small, soft, and com- pact in texture and “clove brown” or “bone brown” in color, with small inconspicuous, lighter centers. The breast feathers mixed with it are small and white or grayish white.
Eggs: The scaup duck lays ordinarily from 7 to 10 eggs; some- times only 5 or 6 constitute a full set and as many as 19 and 22 have been reported; probably these larger sets are the product of two females. The eggs can usually be recognized by their size and color. The color is about the same as in eggs of the lesser scaup and ring- necked ducks, a much darker olive buff than in other ducks’ eggs.
It varies from “deep olive buff” or “olive buff” to “yellowish glau- cous.” The shell is smooth, but not glossy when fresh. The shape is usually elliptical ovate. The measurements of 180 eggs in various collections average 62.4 by 43.7 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 68.5 by 44, 59 by 48, 54.5 by 41.5 and 66.3 by 40.7 millimeters.
Young: The period of incubation is said to be about four weeks, but probably it is nearer three and one-half weeks. This duty is performed by the female alone, as she is deserted by her mate as soon as incubation begins. Mr. Hersey’s Alaska notes state that \there is little doubt that the males of this species go out to sea as soon as the females have laid their eggs and there molt into the eclipse plumage. I never saw any about the tundra ponds after incubation had begun.” The female evidently assumes full care of the young also, leading them about in the ponds and marshes and teaching them to catch flies and other insects. Mr. Hersey came upon a female with a brood of nine young in a large pond out on the tundra. She did not fly or dive, but, calling her young about her, swam to the farther side of the pond. As he walked around the shore she kept at a distance and would not allow him to come nearer. When he withdrew she came ashore with her brood and led them away.
Plumages: The downy young scaup duck is a swarthy duckling, deeply and richly colored with dark brown on the upper parts. The crown, bind neck, and entire back are a deep rich “raw umber,” darker than any color in Ridgway’s standards, with glossy reflections of bright “argus brown”; this color invades the lores and cheeks and shades off gradually on the neck and sides into the color of the under parts; the sides of the head and neck are “old gold” or “olive ocher,” shading off to “colonial buff” on the throat and to “cream buff” and “cartridge buff” on the belly; an area of darker color, approaching that of the upper parts, encircles the lower neck and fore breast and invades the posterior under parts, restricting the light-colored belly. There are no light-colored spots on the scapu- lars and rump, as seen in the surface-feeding ducks. All the colors become duller ~vith increasing age. The white plumage of the breast and belly is the first to develop, then the brown scapulars, the tail, the head and the back; the young bird is fully grown before the last of the faded down disappears from the neck; and the wings are the last of all to be developed. This flapper stage lasts all through August and into September, while the adults are also flightless and in the partial eclipse plumage.
In the first fall plumage in September young birds of both sexes are much alike and resemble the adult female superficially, but the white face is confined to the lores and chin, instead of including the forehead, as in the adult female, and it is more or less mottled with brown; the head, neck, and chest arc paler brown than in the old fe- male. At this age males can generally be distinguished from females by having the lesser wing coverts somewhat vermiculated with gray- ish white. In October young birds begin to assume a plumage more like the adults in both sexes and a steady progress toward maturity continues through the winter and spring. During October the green- ish-black feathers begin to appear in the head and neck; the brown feathers of the back are replaced gradually by gray vermiculated feathers; and the first white feathers verruiculated with black appear in the scapulars. In November the first black feathers appear in the chest. By February the head is practically adult, and the remainder of the plumage closely resembles that of the adult, before summer. Young birds of both sexes do not breed the first spring but remain in flocks by themselves completing the molt.
A complete molt of both old and young birds occurs in summer, but it produces only a partial eclipse plumage, and after this molt young birds become practically in4istinguishable from adults, al- though the full perfection of plumage is not acquired until a year later. Mr. Millais (1913) says of the eclipse plumage:
The adult male is somewhat late in assuming its eclipse dress, and seems to require to be in good health to attain it, for both pechards and scaup which I have kept in confinement have not fully changed as the wild birds do. About the middle or end of July die adult male passes into a fairly complete eclipse. The whole of the wings, scapulars, back, rump, tail and chest are at once molted direct to the winter dress, a feature of the chest feathers being a broad band of white on the edge of every feather. But an intermediate or temporary plumage for July, August, and September is furnished in a large number of eclipse feathers for parts of the head, neck, mantle, and flanks. The head becomes a dull brownish black, showing light gray on the cheeks (due to the old winter feathers reaching the extremity of their length). A few white feathers come into the lores (showing a distinct affinity to female plumage), the neck assumes a gray collar, and the nape and mantle, instead of being black, are filled with new gray and black vermiculated feathers similar to those on the back. The flanks instead of being white as in spring and winter, are now filled with white feathers finely vermiculated with brown. All of these new eclipse feathers are again molted gradually. From the end of September, when the bird is still in eclipse dress, till the end of October new winter feathers are constantly coming in and displacing the old ones; and the full winter plumage is not assumed until November.
Dr. Arthur A. Allen tells me that in both of the scaup ducks molting begins about mid-August and the birds are in full eclipse by mid-September. Breeding plumage begins to show again in mid- October, but the full plumage may not be attained until the following April, though some birds, probably the oldest, are practically in full plumage by December 1st.
Food: The feeding grounds of the scaup duck are mainly in fairly deep water at a safe distance from the shore where their food is obtained by diving; they are expert at this and can remain under water for 50 or 60 seconds. Where food is plentiful they often feed in large companies, diving separately, indiscriminately, or all in unison; they show no particular system in their manner of diving and are not very careful about posting sentinels to watch for dangers; sometimes the whole flock will be below the surface at the same time, so that an approach is fairly easy. In their summer homes in fresh- water lakes and ponds they more often feed on or near the surface, where they live on fish fry, tadpoles, small fishes, small snails and other mollusks, flies, and water insects; they also eat some vegetable food, such as the buds, stems, roots, and seeds of floating and sub- merged vater plants. Dr. F. Henry Yorke (1899) has identified the following genera of water plants in the food of this duck: T7alli~neria, L~ymnobium, Zizania, Piper, Elymus, Iris, Nuphar, Nym- phaea, Myriophyllum, Calli~riche, and Utricularia.
During the winter on the seacoast its food consists of surface- swimming crustaceans, crabs, starfish, and various mollusks; small mussels, obtained by diving in the mussel beds, form the principal part of its animal food at this ~season; but it also eats considerable vegetable food, such as the buds and root-stocks of wild celery (Vallisneria), and the seeds and succulent shoots of Zo8tera mamna. lii the Chesapeake Bay region the scaup ducks feed on the roots of the wild celery with the canvasbacks and redheads, where they are quite as expert as any of the diving ducks in obtaining these succu- lent roots; consequently they become very fat and their flesh, which is ordinarily undesirable, acquires an excellent flavor.
Mr. Arthur H. Norton (1909) found the stomach of a scaup duck, killed on the coast of Maine in winter, filled with shells of Macoma baithica. Dr. J. C. Phillips (1911) reported that the stomachs of scaup ducks, killed on Wenham Lake, Massachusetts, in the fall, “held animal and vegetable matter in equal proportions, the items being bur reed, pondweed, and bivalves (Gemma gemma).”
Behavior: Mr. Millais (1913) gives the best description of the flight of this species that I have seen; I can not do better than to quote his words, as follows:
In flight they proceed at a rapid pace in a somewhat compact formation. The birds fly very close together, and the sound produced by their wings is somewhat loud and rustling. On rising to fly the neck is straightened out, and the bird runs along the surface of the water with considerable splashing for a few yards, hut the distance traveled on the surface of the water is coincidental with the amount of head wind. In calm weathcr, if not much disturbed, they are always liable to take to wing, and if the boat does not press them they will swim away for a long time before turning around and facing up wind. When sitting on the sea, scaup often keep in one long unbroken line parallel to the coast, and when rising the first bird at one end takes wing and is followed in order right across the flock. When flying they keep at a moderate elevation, but if the wind is offshore and they are desirous of coming in to some estuary, they nearly always strike the sands or part of the coast line which they desire to cross at exactly the same spot every day and at a consider- able height. As they approach the waters of the estuary and fceding grounds the leading birds then often make a dive downward, their movements being followed in line by the rest of the flock, so that if the line of hirds is a long one it often has a curious waving appearance. Doubtless this rising high as they approach the coast line is dictated by common sense, for it is on the sands and rocky shore they are most often shot at, and they learn caution from bitter experience. When on migra- tion by day I have seen scaup circling at a great height, but when leaving the sea or open water for the feeding grounds at night scaup as a rule do not fly much above 30 feet above the land or water. I have, when waiting for duck on the mussel beds at dawn and sunset, occasionally obtained shots at ffight at scaup, and the sound of their rushing wings has often foretold their approach, when, if they could be seen in time, I have occasionally made successful shots. When in small parties scaup may sometimes be seen flying in oblique formation like other ducks, but when in large companies they generally hold together in a solid phalanx, or in one long unbroken line massed in several places.
The scaup duck is a bold, strong swimmer, making the best of speed even in rough weather; it is a hardy sea duck, unexcelled in its powers of swimming and diving. It is not particularly shy and can usually be approached with a little caution; but it must be hard hit to be secured, as it is tough, has a thick coat of feathers, and is such a powerful swimmer and diver that it is useless to pursue a wounded bird unless it is shot over at once. It dives quickly and swims rapidly away under Water with its wings tightly closed, as many of the best divers do. I have seen scaup ducks, which I had dropped as if killed, sit up and shake themselves, dive before I could shoot them over, and never show themselves again; if the sea is at all rough, they can easily escape without showing enough to be seen. Mr. Charles E. Alford (1920) has published some interesting notes on the diving habits of this species, which seems to dive with extreme regu- larity for definite periods; the dives varied in duration from 25 to 29 seconds and the periods between the dives varied from 11 to 19 seconds.
Except during the mating season, as described above, scaup ducks are usually silent. Their most characteristic note is a harsh, dis- cordant “scaup, scaup,” from which their name may have been de- rived. They also occasionally utter soft guttural or purring sounds.
Fall: The fall migration is the reverse of the spring route, south- eastward through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic seacoast and south- ward through the Mississippi Valley. Professor Cooke (1906) says that these two routes are clearly revealed in the fall, “when this spe- cies scarcely occurs in Indiana, though common both to the east and west of that State.” The first flights come fairly early in the fall, with the first frosts, probably made up of the more t.ender birds which have bred farther south and hatched out earlier. The later flights consist of hardier birds from the far north, which come rushing down ahead of the wintry stonns and cold weather, probably driven out by ice and snow. They frequent the lakes, larger ponds, and rivers, feeding and resting on open water, even in rough weather; they often gather in large flocks, which has given them the names, “raft duck” and “flocking fowl”; a dense pack of these unsuspicious birds resting on a sand bank in a river or floating on the surface of a pond often offers a tempting shot to the unscrupulous gunner.
Game: The true sportsman, however, finds excellent sport~ in shooting these swift-winged ducks over decoys. They decoy readily to the painted wooden decoys used by the bay men of Long Island and the Chesapeake and large numbers are killed from the floating batteries, such as are used for shooting c~nvasbacks and redheads. This method is well described by Mr. Dwight W. Huntington (1903) as follows:
Just before daybreak we reached the place determined upon and found it unoccu- pied. The battery was placed in the water, the decoys were arranged about it within close range, and my gunner sailed away to leave me lying below the surface of the bay in the box with its wide rim floating on the water. As the first light came in the east I could see the ducks, mostly scaups and redheads, flying swiftly across the dim gray light. Soon there was a rush of wings quite close to my head as a flock of blackheads swung in to the decoys. Sitting up I fired two barrels at the shadowy forms, but nothing struck the water, and the noisy whistling of wings was soon lost in the darkness. As the sun came up the ducks came rapidly, sometimes one or two, more often a flock. I shot at every one, with but poor success. The cramped posi- tion, the hasty shot from a sitting position, were new to me and strange, and it was some time before I began to kill the ducks. A single bird coming head on was about to settle to the decoys, when I fired at him at close range, and he struck the water dead. Shortly afterwards I made a double from a flock, and with growing confidence my shooting improved. I soon had a goodly lot of scaups showing black and white upon the waves as they drifted with the breeze. Meanwhile the bay man, who had been cruising far enough away not to alarm the ducks, approached and gathered in the slain.
Mr. Walter H. Rich (1907) says that on the coast of Maine: most of the bluebils are killed from the “gunning float,” the gunner clad in a white suit and the little craft itself “dressed down” to the water’s edge with snow and ice to represent a floating ice cake. It is no wonder that the poor victims are “de- luded” for it needs sharp eyes and close attention to make out anything dangerous in an object so harmless in appearance. There is commonly little trouble in ap- preaching within easy range of a flock if the gunner is skilled in handling his craft, but to get within shot reach is not all, for any duck which can last out the New Eng- land winter will carry off a good load of shot, as the bird must have an abundance of vitality and an extra-heavy suit of underwear to endure the climate. Both of these our hero has.
Winter: On the Pacific coast there is a southward migration route from the Alaskan breeding grounds and probably a southwestward flight from the interior. Mr. W. L. Dawson (1909) writes of their arrival on the Washington coast:
At Semiahmoo Spit, upon our northern boundary, the bluebills begin to arrive from the north about the 20th of September, and their numbers are augmented to: at least a month thereafter. The earlier arrivals come in small flocks of from a dozen to 25 individuals, borne upon the wings of a northwest breeze, and as they pass the narrow promontory of sand, the waiting gunners exact toll of these which enter the harbor. Upon the waters of the inner bay, Drayton Harbor, the incoming birds as- semble in a great raft, five or ten thousand strong, and if undisturbed, deploy to dive in shallow water, feeding not only upon the eelgrass itself, but upon the varied forms of life which shelter in its green fastnesses. About half an hour before sunset, as though by some preconcerted signal, a grand exodus takes place. Flock joins flock as the birds rise steadily against the wind. Mindful of their former experience, the ducks attain a height of two or three times that at which they entered the harbor and, strong in the added confidence of num- bers, the seined host, some 40 companies abreast, sweeps over the spit in unison: a beautiful and impressive sight. Some five minutes later a second movement of a similar nature is organized by hail as many birds remaining; while a third wave, con- taining only a hundred or so of laggards, leaves the harbor destitute of scaups.
On the way to their winter homes on the seacoast these ducks often linger in the lakes until driven out by the ice and often many pariah in the freezing lakes. Mr. Alvin R. Calm (1912) describes such a catastrophe on Cayuga Lake, New York, as follows:
The largest flock seen was just off Portland Point. Thia flock was discovered at rest upon the ice, and so close together were they, and so numerous, that the birds gave the appearance of a solid black line, and it was not until one had approached to within 100 yards of them that one could be suro that it was indeed a flock of ducks. The birds were quite indifferent to being approached, and it was not until one was within 200 feet of them that they showed any signs of uneasiness. When within 100 feet, they rose slowly and flew some little distance down the lake, where they settled once more into their compact formation. It was not until they rose that one realized that there were easily over 400 ducks in the flock. It was all but impossible for these birds to rise clear of the ice. The indifference shown toward unguarded approach, the reluctance with which they rose, the short distance which they flew, in fact, their every action bespoke exhaustion and weakness. In a small piece of open, rapidly flowing water in Fall Creek, a female of this species was caught by band without dif. ficulty. The bird, too exhausted even to try to fly, could make no headway against the current, and was therefore easily captured. It was too weak to eat~ and died within 24 hours. Two peculiar incidents with regard to bluebills have been brought to my notice. One specimen was found while still alive, in which over half the web- bing of both feet had been frozen and dropped off. Another was found frozen in a cake of ice, nothing but the head and about half the neck protruding from the mass. The duck, still alive, was chopped out, when it was found that the ice had in some way frozen over the duck, leaving water next to the body. This was undoubtedly kept from freezing by the action of the legs and the body heat. The bird was uninjured, and after being fed, seemed little the worse for its experience.
Large numbers of scaup ducks spend the winter on the New Eng- land coast and they are especially abundant in the Vineyard Sound region, south of Cape Cod, and on the ocean side of Long Island. Here they may be seen in large flocks, sometimes numbering several hundred, riding at ease on the rough or choppy sea. Their move- ments are largely governed by the condition of the mussel beds on which they feed. From Chesapeake Bay to Currituck Sound, North Carolina, they are also abundant and are regarded as one of the desirable species of game birds. On the coast of Louisiana, according to Beyer, Allison, and Kopman (1906), “the occurrence of this spe- cies is eoiffned chiefly to the colder parts of the winter. This species is seldom found away from the coast, and occurs more frequently on the open Gulf waters than any other species.”
Breeding range: The North American form breeds east to the west coast of Hudson Bay (Churchill), southwestern Ungava (Great Whale River), and casually to the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Magdalen Islands and northern New Brunswick). South to southeastern Michigan (St. Clair Flats, casually), formerly northern Iowa (Clear Lake), rarely, if at all, now in Minnesota or North Dakota, but probably still in southern or central Manitoba (Lake Winnipeg), central Saskatchewan (Prince Albert), central Alberta (Buffalo Lake), and central British Columbia (east of the Cascades). West to the Aleutian Islands (Atka and Agattu) and the Bering Sea coast of Alaska. North to the Arctic coasts of Alaska and Canada. In the eastern and southern portions of its breeding range it is rare or casual. The European form breeds in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and northern Europe and Asia, from Scotland to Bering Sea, and from about 700 north latitude southward.
Winter range: North America mainly on the seacoasts of the United States. On the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida, most commonly from southern New England and Long Island to North Carolina. On the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and Texas nearly to the Mexican boundary. On the Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands to southern California (San Diego). A few winter in the Great Lakes, and a few in the southwestern interior (Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico). The European form winters south to the Mediterranean Sea, northern Africa (Algeria, Tunis and Egypt), the Black and Caspian Seas, the Persian Gulf, northern India (rarely), China, Japan, and Formosa (Taiwan).
Spring migration: Early dates of arrival: Indiana, central, March 1; Ohio, Oberlin, March 9; Illinois, northern, March 6; Manitoba, southern, March 31; Yukon, Fort Reliance, May 1; Alaska, St. Mi- chael, May 8, and Kowak River, June 1. Average dates of arrival: Illinois, northern, March 23; Ohio, Oberlin, March 24; Ontario, southern, March 30; Iowa, central, March 16; Minnesota, Heron Lake, April 2; Manitoba, southern, April 16; Mackenzie, Fort Simpson, May 24. Late dates of departure: Florida, Pinellas County, March 4; Long Island, Mastic, May 30; Massachusetts, Nantucket, May 1.
Fall migration: Early dates of arrival: Labrador, Ticoralak, Octo- ber 11; New York, Long Island, September 26; Virginia, Alexandria, October 18; South Carolina, Mount Pleasant., October 31. Late dates of departure: Alaska, St. Michael, October 15; Quebec, Mon- treal, November 14; Minnesota, heron Lake, November 27.
Casual records: R are or casual on both coasts of Greenland (Neanortalik, Godhavn, and Stormkap, June 21, 1907), eastern Labra- dor and Newfoundland.
Egg dates: Alaska and Arctic America: Eleven records, June 14 to July 5; six records, June 15 to 20. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta:Twelve records, May 25 to July (3; six records, June 12 to 19. Iceland: Eight records, May 30 to July 10.