Some Observations on the Breeding Habits of the Red-Necked Phalarope

Published on 01 July 1908 in Main articles

THE published descriptions of the singular habits of the Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus hyperboreus) being somewhat meagre and inadequate, I thought that a few observations which I was able to m a t e this summer might be acceptable to the readers of BEITISH BIRDS. Thanks to the kind permission of the authorities, I was allowed to stay in a certain place in Scotland, where, under very efficient protection, these birds are, I am glad to say, still plentiful. As is well known, the numbers of this species to be found in a particular locality vary considerably from year to year. So it was t h a t this year many of their favourite haunts were untenanted where on a former occasion I had counted many couples. I am not far wrong when I say that scarcely a third of the usual number remained to breed. Perhaps the arctic conditions prevailing forced them to seek ” pastures new,” and, moreover, had such an influence on those remaining t h a t they were very late in beginning to nest. On May 28th, during the course of a perfect hurricane, we observed the first arrivals. On June 2nd one pair already seemed to have settled its affairs. On the 3rd, 4th and 5th we saw four female Phalaropes and only one male. These amazons were fighting continuously amongst themselves and were causing the solitary male much anxiety. From this it would appear t h a t the female, being the stronger and

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