Breeding duck numbers up 8 percent from 2013

Canvasback hen with ducklings:  © USFWS

Canvasback hen with ducklings: © USFWS

Memphis, Tenn.  – July  2, 2014 – The US Fish and Wildlife Service today released its report on 2014 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early June. Total populations were estimated at 49.2 million breeding ducks in the surveyed area. This estimate represents an 8-percent increase from last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and is 43 percent higher than the 1955-2013 long-term average. This continues a three-year trend of exceptional water conditions and population numbers for many species. Continue reading

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Migration Update – June 16, 2014

June 5th 2014,  Churchill, Manitoba. Survey Crew grounded from snow!

June 5th 2014, Churchill, Manitoba. Survey Crew grounded from snow!

 

While it seems summer arrived early to southern portions of the U.S., spring temperatures arrived very late in the northern states and fishing is barely underway for many off-season hunters above the Mason-Dixon line.  Not surprisingly, the further north one travels, the more prevalent these weather oddities become.

If you have been following the survey pilot reports at FLYWAYS.US , you’ll have noticed that spring has consistently arrived very late to most of the major breeding and survey areas.  On June 5th, the survey team for Northeast Manitoba was grounded by a snowstorm in Churchill – the Polar Bear Capital of the World.

Each year, biologists provide real-time reporting during the annual waterfowl survey. Waterfowl hunters can monitor the breeding conditions and bird counts for areas that supply them with ducks and geese during the fall migration and experience the visual wonders of these remote habitats that are so vital to the continuation of our sport.

Aerial and ground crews from coast to coast provide an up-close and personal report for the most extensive wildlife survey in existence.  The data they collect is used to determine the season length and bag limits for both the U.S and Canada.  The final survey results are published each July in the Annual Waterfowl and Breeding and Habitat Survey – where the compiled results set the framework for each flyway and the parameters in which individual states can propose their seasons.

In addition to the data and reports, crew-members provide a personal perspective on their historical knowledge of survey areas and a clear picture of the trials, tribulations and dangers of the job.  Whether you a hardcore duck geek or weekend waterfowl hunter, we are confident you will find the reports of interest and worth the time spent reading them.

Continue reading

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Migration Update – April 21, 2014

WFC_Journal_21_cover
Spring has spring across the nation and the majority of snow geese have crossed the 49th parallel into Canada.  Waterfowler.com begins the official off-season with the celebrated return of Waterfolwer.com Journal – in free, digital format for our readers.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

After an extended hiatus, Waterfowler.com Journal will again be published, albeit paper free and also free of any annual subscription fee.  Thanks to advances in digital publishing technology and the widespread use of hand-held mobile and tablet devices, we are excited about the advances that make it possible.

Over the past two-years, the number of readers that access our website via mobile devices has sky rocketed.  In response to this changing statistic, Waterfowler.com migrated our website to a mobile friendly, responsive layout and the number of hunters who visit our site, from the field and on the road, continues to grow. Continue reading

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Migration Update – March 31, 2014

Spring Harvest - Member Photo Credit; DukGuy

Spring Harvest – Member Photo Credit; DukGuy

The spring thaw is finally underway in the northern tier and light geese have arrived in the Dakotas in significant numbers.  While some juvenile birds remain in parts of Nebraska and Iowa, light geese are another step closer to the 49th parallel and the return to their arctic breeding grounds.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

The spring migration is generally a hurry-up and wait process.  Ducks and geese are in a hurry to return to the breeding grounds and they wait for a break in the weather to push northward.  Canada geese and mallards, being more cold tolerant and stubborn, generally arrive in the south last and are the first to push north – arriving ahead of light geese.

As southerly winds and warm temperatures pushed to the far north this past week, so did waves of waterfowl and songbirds.  Flights of Sandhill Cranes were reported in northern portions of the Mississippi and Central Flyways along with the return of many duck species to areas with open water. Continue reading

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Migration Update – February 27, 2014

mallard_motel

Photo Credit: Sunrise Snows from MallardMotel.com

A quick glance at the Snow Cover and Surface Temperature maps provide and instant locator for Mid-Continental light geese in the Central and Mississippi Flyways.  The burgeoning population of snow geese continue to stage below the snow and freeze as they await the spring thaw (like the rest of us) and the flight back to their nesting grounds.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

The Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri remains 97% frozen and light goose numbers are setting at a paltry 18,000 as of the last count.  Light goose numbers are good to excellent in Arkansas at this time and hunter success is fair to good. Continue reading

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Migration Update – January 6, 2014

brandon_click

Member photo credit: Clickster.

If you are a follower of sunspots and tidal charts, like the folks at Farmer’s Almanac, the bitter cold winter we’ve been experiencing thus far should come as no surprise.  If you are a modern day meteorologist, who has succumbed to naming winter storms for branding purposes, the series of artic fronts are “shocking” news and good for ratings.  If you are a dyed-in-the-wool duck hunter, it’s just weather – the kind of weather that moves ducks and geese in a big way.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

Without a doubt, the extreme cold that was induced by the polar vortex the past week moved ducks and geese south.  While the extremely low temperatures played a role in the migration activity, snow accumulation in the north played a much larger role in the event.   In short, when the snow is too deep for ducks and geese to forage under, the head south in search of food and open water. Continue reading

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Migration Update – December 4, 2013

Winter storm Cleon ignites migration activity.

Winter storm Cleon ignites migration activity.

As arctic air pushes across the Great Plains into the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, waterfowl activity is expected to increase significantly and reach peak migration levels throughout the Central and Mississippi Flyways throughout the week. The near-record number of mallards resting along the Missouri River corridor in South Dakota are already on the move. Reports throughout the Central Flyway confirmed heavy migration activity in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and the Texas Panhandle.

As arctic temperatures move east, the abundance of waterfowl along the Illinois River are expected to move further south over the next few days as ice builds in the northern third of the nation. In short, winter storm Cleon has ignited some of the best migration activity of the season. Continue reading

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Migration Update – November 11, 2013

Mallards arrive in MN - Member Photo credit, Swampgas

Mallards arrive in MN – Member Photo credit, Swampgas

The mid-continental mallard population has begun to move down the Central & Mississippi Flyways.  Mallard numbers in the Dakotas and northern Nebraska increased significantly over the past week, as well as numbers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa.  Diver numbers in the Great Lakes region continued to rise from Lake Superior to western basin of Lake Erie.

Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.

A quick glance at the NOAA snow cover map reveals the mystery behind our nation’s current migration status.  Accumulative snowfall across the Canadian provinces has ignited the first push of mallards into the lower-forty eight states.   While a number of storms did occur in the U.S over the past fourteen days, those storms occurred below the bulk of the mallard population and have since return to average/above average temperatures, which resulted in moving early migrants further south and very few northern birds to replace them.

While the first weeks of November are traditionally host of classic clipper systems that move ducks in massive numbers, the jet-stream has remained relatively flat this autumn season and predictions fro the coming week are more of the same. Continue reading

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