This summer was one of the wettest and coolest in recorded history. The entire region experienced its second rainiest July ever, while many areas also had their rainiest August. Temperatures were below long-term averages for most of the summer as well. Floodplains are at or near spring levels, having never lowered to typical summer levels, and water remains in many low-lying areas.
Earlier in the season, banding results confirmed that early-breeding birds were challenged by cold, wet conditions during their incubation periods. Broods were generally smaller than normal, and they appeared at least three weeks later than they did last year. Relentless rains are probably to blame, along with temperatures that dipped below 0 C at nights until mid July. Most banding stations are now reporting below average numbers, but this could be because late broods were less likely to be attracted to bait sites.
More recently, observations of healthier, larger broods suggest that late-nesting and re-nesting birds enjoyed better reproductive success. There continue to be several observations of flightless young. Early northern reports suggest an average reproductive success, and migrants are starting to arrive.
Waterfowl habitat is in good shape thanks to rainfall and reduced evaporation. Though it may not be a great recruitment year for early nesters, this could be balanced by later nesters’ success. Overall, habitat conditions are good, though wet and cold.
To view this report as a PDF, please visit DUC website.
Find migration and hunting reports on DU's Migration Map