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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Early Fall Habitat Conditions in Canada

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Western Boreal Forest

Conditions are generally good in the Whitehorse area of the Yukon. The summer was mild and wet, and all ponds and even large lakes appear full. Early September was windy and rainy, which may have slowed migration. However, one of the earliest-departing species (white-fronted goose) has been on the move, with a flock of almost 8,000 passing through Teslin.

Water levels are relatively good in the Northwest Territories, due to favorable rainfall amounts since the beginning of August. Ducks and geese are migrating, but the fall flight is not at its peak yet. Good numbers of dabblers and divers have been observed. Hunting success on the north arm of Great Slave Lake has not been great, possibly due to low numbers of northern migrants come through. There appear to be fewer wigeons and pintails around than usual, although mallards and green-winged teal are common.

In northern Alberta, Edmonton received significantly less September rainfall than usual. However, conditions are still in relatively good shape given how wet July and August were. Similarly, although Grande Prairie and High Level have also had well-below-normal rainfall as of late September, levels are not dire thanks to favorable summer conditions.

In northern Saskatchewan, conditions have been quite good. Although the early fall has been dry, with a few intermittent rains, water levels are good in most basins of all sizes. Temperatures dipped in early September, with some frost that may have prompted bird movement, but temperatures have since rebounded. Forecasts are calling for well-above-normal temperatures, which may stall migration as birds in the lower Western Boreal Forest stay around to feast on the harvest spoils. Dabblers, divers and geese have all been observed in good numbers, and hunters are reporting good success.

Overall, it has been a warm and wet summer in The Pas region of northern Manitoba. Waterfowl production appeared to be good this year, with the exception of some late or second nests being flooded by the Saskatchewan River in mid July. The fall flight appears to be above average so far. Many field hunters are reporting good numbers of mallards, and large flocks of Canada and snow geese (and some ross’ geese) are either in the area or passing through. Temperatures have generally been well above average in August and September, which may be delaying the onset of peak migration through the Saskatchewan River Delta. Much the same conditions exist further north in the Cranberry Portage area, where basins are full and geese have been moving through in good numbers. Thompson had snow in mid September.

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