Another Very Out Of Place Sea Duck Lands In North Dakota
There's only been one confirmed Common Eider sighting in the history of birding in North Dakota.
That was back in December of 1981 on Lake Audubon by Ron Martin. Well, nearly exactly 40 years to the date, lightning strikes twice.
Birder Ron Martin has observed another Common Eider, this time on the Garrison Dam Tailrace. It happened around Sunday, December 11th. Word quickly spread among the birding community and people started flocking to the Tailrace to catch a glimpse of this ocean duck that is obviously very lost. Here's a picture of the extremely lost duck.
It appears this bird is a young juvenile Common Eider.
The face of the bird is rather white, which could mean the bird is a first-year drake. Although, it's very hard to tell without examining the bird up close. First-year drakes often look a lot like a hen in the duck world. Most sea and diver ducks typically take 3 to 4 years to completely feather out. Whether it's a hen or a drake, this is still another oddball duck sighting in North Dakota, which proves once again there are no fences in the sky.
Of course just over a month ago, for the first time EVER in the state of North Dakota a hen King Eider was observed on both Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon. You read all about that here.
Now, for the 2nd time ever a Common Eider has been sighted in the state.
Makes you wonder what is exactly going on in the sea duck world. I was chatting with Bismarck's Corey Ellingson who's an avid birder and writes for the Bismarck Tribune and Jesse Kolar another big birder in the state. I told Corey and Jesse, judging by the sharp point on the bill, that I believe this Common Eider is actually a Pacific Eider, which is a subspecies of the Common Eider. If that is true, that means this bird was likely hatched in the northern regions of Alaska or the Canadian Territories. Somehow, he or she ended up in North Dakota. Pacific Eiders typically winter in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Again, that makes this bird really lost.
Isn't nature AWESOME!