Date: 3/2/17 5:39 am
From: Ashley Peele <ashpeele...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Waterfowl Behavior on Migration
A quick tip for Atlas volunteers or those thinking about contributing breeding observations to the VABBA2 eBird portal:

Many waterfowl species get frisky on migration! A relatively small number of duck species breed in VA. But!  Many species of ducks and geese engage in courtship behavior, aggression between males, and even copulation while on migration. If you see something like Ring-necked Ducks or Buffleheads engaged in these breeding behaviors, it is tempting to log these as breeding codes. However, these species don’t breed in VA and therefore shouldn’t be tagged with breeding codes on Atlas checklists.

Here is a list of waterfowl species that ARE known to breed in VA historically:

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

Wood Duck


American Black Duck


Blue-winged Teal

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Vagrant breeders are always possible, but please check the Breeding Season Guidelines or your VA Gold Book, if uncertain whether a species is likely to breed in VA.

Almost 1000 new checklists have come in to the Atlas portal in late winter and early spring. We appreciate the folks who are diving back in to Atlasing, even if we weren't quite read you such an early Spring. I think this upcoming field season is going to blow away our 2016 data collection. Thanks so much for your efforts and keep up the good work!

All the best.

Ashley Peele, PhD

Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas Coordinator |


Conservation Management Institute, Virginia Tech

1900 Kraft Drive, Suite 250

Blacksburg, VA 24061

(540) 231-9182 office

(540) 231-7019 fax


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