Harlequin Ducks are striking sea ducks that overwinter on the coast and migrate to the interior to breed. Their ability to swim in turbulent white water, where they dip and dive for aquatic insects, is unmatched. For breeding, they select undisturbed, fast-moving portions of rivers and streams with dense riparian vegetation. Females return to their natal streams, and typically use the same breeding sites, unless they become degraded or disturbed. For all of the above reasons, Harlequin Ducks are sensitive indicators of freshwater ecosystems.
A 1996 inventory of Harlequins conducted in the Salmo River watershed documented a provincially significant breeding population (54 adults: 33 males and 21 females). Since then, there’s been a number of changes in the watershed, and an FWCP survey in 1999 began to document population declines. A 2009 re-survey confirmed a 22% decline in the adult population. Additional stressors have emerged, most notably a March 2019 fuel spill in the South Salmo River which further threatens this population. Pandion Ecological Research Ltd., in collaboration with Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society, is repeating a Harlequin pair and brood inventory from May to July 2019, along with stewardship follow-up at specific sites.
You can help!
Information and sightings are actively being sought from the public to assist in focusing inventory and stewardship attention on active sites, and in detecting oiled birds. Please share your sightings of Harlequin Ducks in the Salmo River watershed.
Thanks in advance for your help!
More info: www.fwcp.ca
This inventory and stewardship of
Salmo Watershed Harlequin Ducks is
funded by the Fish & Wildlife