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Species Code: MERME
Breeding Range Map
Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records
This species is common in freshwater habitats (especially rivers) at lower and mid-elevations on both sides of the Cascade crest. In western Washington they are found west to the outer coast along major rivers and up to the Mountain Hemlock zone. In eastern Washington they are found west of the Columbia River up to the Interior Western Hemlock zone. They are not found breeding between the Columbia, Spokane, and Snake Rivers in the dry regions, though non-breeding birds may be found in the summer. Good habitats in the core areas of use included all large lakes, reservoirs, and rivers below the Subalpine Fir and Mountain Hemlock zones, limited to the regions mentioned above. We modeled this species only in mapped wetlands (rather than including non-wetland habitats where there may be smaller pockets of habitat suitable for them) because it tends to nest near larger water bodies. However, it may also occur near some of the larger unmapped water bodies.
Breeding records for this species are sparse in the hottest, driest parts of the Columbia Basin, channeled scablands, and Palouse, although individuals are commonly seen during the breeding season on major rivers in this region. In the forested regions, these birds generally breed in cavities, but may nest on the ground and in cliff crevices in lower zones where cavities are lacking.
Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester