Tracking Data for Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)

Science Center Objects

Available here are tracking data of Surf Scoter, a duck species that breeds throughout higher latitudes of Alaska and Canada and winters along coastal areas of North America. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements between breeding and wintering areas.

Return to Ecosystems >> Wildlife Tracking Data Collection

Male Surf Scoter

Male Surf Scoter.
​​​​​​​(Credit: Dan Esler, USGS. Public domain.)

USGS Alaska Science Center scientists collect data from wildlife tracking devices to: determine locations of animals throughout their annual cycles, understand patterns of habitat use, quantify time spent on various behaviors, and identify geographic areas repeatedly used by wildlife that may indicate sites of importance to species and populations. Tracking data from other wildlife species can be found at:

Tracking Maps

Argos Wildlife Tracking Surf Scoter animation

Argos Wildlife Tracking of Surf Scoters.
(Credit: David Douglas, USGS. Public domain.)

Surf Scoter Tracking Maps

These webpages contain four different types of browse maps and other visualizations of the tracking data.

  • Maps (Animated, Static, Interactive, and Google Earth)
  • Summary graphs of the data: where, when, duration
  • Note: These maps serve only as a depiction of the geographic content of the specific data provided and may be inappropriate for inferences and interpretation outside the intent of the original study. For example, maps may portray only certain ages, sexes, limited numbers of animals or variable tracking duration and start times that may limit inference for other questions. Users are advised to read the publication(s) and data set metadata associated with these maps to understand appropriate use and data limitations.

Data Packages

Argos Satellite Telemetry Data

These data packages contain the data collected from satellite transmitters attached to free-ranging animals. The packages include both raw and processed location and sensor data. The raw data includes data as originally retrieved from the Argos System. The processed data have been filtered for location plausibility, and sensor data have been decoded into standard measurement units. For most users, the processed data will be preferred.

Suggested Citation

Ward, D.H., Esler, D., Boyd, W.S., Douglas, D.C., 2020, Tracking data for Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) (ver 1.0, March 2020): U.S. Geological Survey data release,