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Harlequin ducks are small sea ducks that breed along fast-flowing mountain streams and winter along rocky coastal shorelines. The ducks get their name from the brightly colored males after the harlequin theatrical character. The west coast population is much larger than the east coast population. The bulk of the west coast population resides in Alaska. Originally, harlequins bred and wintered in the northern half of California, but only the occasional stray is currently spotted in that location. Dr. Jarvis and his graduate students studied nesting ecology and migratory movements of Harlequin ducks in Northwest Oregon. Studies were also conducted in Prince William Sound, Alaska before and after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
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