Young Surf Scoters

Young Surf Scoters between Shoals Point and St. Lazaria

Surf Scoters are a common wintering bird on the near shore waters around Sitka, but most of them head north (or maybe east?) to nest on freshwater lakes. However, young birds (those that hatched the prior summer) are not ready to breed and opt not to undertake that journey. Instead they seem to move a little further out to shores that are more exposed to the open ocean than where they tend to winter.


  • What is the nearest (to Sitka) nesting area for Surf Scoters?
  • Baranof Island has many lakes, but there are no records of scoters nesting – what do they look for in a good nesting lake?
  • Why do Surf Scoters (and other ducks) move further out in summer – is it better habitat that’s more accessible during the relatively calm summer?
  • Do Surf Scoters return to where they hatched when its their turn to nest?

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