American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Baikal Teal – Montana

Not much more than an hour ago, Radd Icenoggle discovered a gorgeous male ABA Code-4 Baikal Teal at the Maclay Irrigation Canal, just outside of Maclay Recreation Area near Missoula, Montana. This is not only a continental level rarity but a potential state first for Montana as well.

BATE Icenoggle

photo used with permission

More photos at available at Radd’s blog.

Maclay Recreation Area is just west of Missoula, Montana. The bird was initially seen along with a pair of Wood Ducks in a canal just outside of the Recreation Area proper. The trio then flushed approxomately 300 meters to a gravel pit where they settled in with several Mallards.

Baikal Teal is known from just over 20 records of about 30 individuals in the ABA-Area, most of which come from the western Aleutians in fall. There are accepted records for this species all along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to southern California with some as late as April. Interior records from Colorado, Ontario, Oklahoma, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Ohio have been questioned because of uncertain provenance (ABA Checklist 7th Edition, Pranty, et al, but one from Maricopa, Arizona, in 2010 apparently passed muster.

The species went through a significant population decline in the 1980s, but has since rebounded dramatically which may be behind the recent increase in North American reports for this species.