Summer is just around the corner. The majority of migrants have already swung through our neighborhoods headed north for the summer to breed. But where exactly do they go after flying through our backyards each spring?
For many North American birds–as many as 300 species in fact–they are going to the boreal forest. Literally billions of migrants do each year, flooding the skies each evening during spring on their annual pilgrimage to North America’s great northern forest.
For the eastern population of Harlequin Duck, which spend the majority of winter along rough, rocky coastlines, this typically means the free-flowing Atlantic rivers of Quebec and Labrador. The often fast-moving, mountainous rivers that drain into the Atlantic Ocean provide pristine nesting habitat and plenty of insects and invertebrates to sustain this colorful duck throughout the summer. Harlequin Ducks received a huge boost in 2010 with the creation of Mealy Mountains National Park in Labrador, which protected a sweeping region of some of their favorite summer habitat.
Our colleague Jon Feldgajer of the Canadian Boreal Initiative recently spotted a pair of Harlequin Ducks while scoping out a potential fishing spot in Labrador. It seems like this river provides for some excellent birding opportunities in addition to fishing!