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#ABArare – Common Shelduck – New Hampshire

On Sunday, August 13, Heather Burns discovered a subadult Common Shelduck near the harbor in Rye, New Hampshire. Common Shelduck is not yet on the ABA Checklist, though the acceptance by the Newfoundland committee of a record from Renews in 2014 puts it in the purview of the ABA Checklist Committee. Pending acceptance, this would be a 1st record for New Hampshire.

The bird was seen on a pond just south of Odiorne Point State Park in Rockingham County. There is no obvious indication of non-natural provenance.

Reports of Common Shelduck in the ABA Area are not uncommon, and in the past most were considered to be escapees out of hand. That is increasingly less true for these birds found in spring and fall in Eastern Canada and New England. Indeed some authorities have looked to an increase in the population of the species in Iceland in recent years as a possible source of birds on our side of the Atlantic (Howell et al 2014), arguing that it is not only a plausible vagrant but a likely one.

Ned Brinkley, in North American Birds, took a look at known observations of the species in North America(.pdf) in the wake of a pair of notable, but unaccepted, reports – in eastern Newfoundland and in Essex, Massachusetts, both in fall/winter of 2009 .  Brinkley found that records of the species have increased in recent decades, concentrated near their expected landfall in the northeast (Brinkley 2010).

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.