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Alaska Beat

Alaska Sealife Center gets two new ... smews

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published November 2, 2012

The Alaska Sealife Center in Seward has two new residents. On Wednesday, center staff released a male and a female Smew into the main bird habitat where the common murres and the pigeon guillemots live.

According to the Seward City News, upon introduction the young male and the mature female darted out of their crate and flapped around the habitat before making themselves at home in the water. Apparently this introduction upset the resident birds, causing a brief chase around the pool before order was restored.

Smews are a species of duck described as an intermediate between a goldeneye and a typical merganser. Although they occasionally visit Alaska's Aleutian the Pribilof islands, the birds are not technically native to the state.

The two new smews came to the Alaska Sealife Center from a breeder and not the wild; the circumstances are unclear.

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