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Monday, April 28, 2014

Garganey in Vermont!

Garganey (right) flapping its wings in Burlington, VT.
During spring migration, birds sometimes get lost, either from being blown off course by storms or flying the wrong direction when their internal compass fails them. In some instances, they get very lost. That was the case for a Garganey, a Eurasian species of duck that ended up in a flooded cornfield in Burlington, VT this week. Discovered yesterday by Taylor Swanson at the Ethan Allen Homestead, Garganeys normally breed throughout Europe and Asia above the 45th parallel. It is a migratory species, overwintering in parts of northern and central Africa, India, and China.

Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds describes the Garganey as a “very rare visitor” with most North American sightings “mainly from March to June and mostly of males among groups of Blue-winged Teal on marshy ponds.” According to Birdwatching in Vermont, there was a sighting of a Garganey in Vermont in 1988, when an adult male spent over two week at East Creek in Orwell.  But with the flood waters receding at the Ethan Allen Homestead and an eager Peregrine Falcon on the prowl for prey, this Garganey probably won’t stick around for too long!

A map of where the Garganey was sighted via Allan Strong
Garganey (second from the left) in Burlington, VT
Map of Garganey sightings in the US from eBird.
Click the map to visit this interactive map in eBird and see more details.

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