Marshes and potholes on the Canadian prairies are freezing up tight, and as an even stronger cold front pushes across the region this weekend, remaining waterfowl concentrated on deeper waters should also begin to move south. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) biologists are providing real-time reports about the latest conditions on Ducks Unlimited’s Migration Map. As waterfowl continue to push south, peak migrations of waterfowl are expected to arrive throughout northern and mid-latitude states in each flyway. Below are some recent reports from DUC biologists.
The Pas, Manitoba
DUC Biologist Shaun Greer
Fewer open water opportunities everyday as the lakes continue to freeze over. Few late season mallards and geese still available for field hunts.
There are a few remaining divers and mallards concentrating in the open water pockets of lakes and the Saskatchewan River. Expecting a push south of many of the remaining birds with expected snow and colder temperatures this weekend.
Many of the smaller wetlands are starting to freeze over. Two-week forecast calling for highs near or just below freezing and lows around 20F and colder. We have received very minimal snow to date, but calling for up to 4 inches by this weekend.
DUC Biologist Chuck Deschamps
Hunters are having trouble finding ducks and geese to hunt. Small flocks of Canada's and large flocks of mallards are concentrating where there is deeper open water, but they are difficult to find. Saw a large flock of mallards piling into a dugout this morning.
Snow geese and cranes have left the area as have teal and other ducks. Divers and mallards are still around, but continue to leave the area. There is a storm front moving in this weekend that may take a lot of the remaining ducks with it.
Weather has turned cold this past week with temperatures dipping at night to 14F and reaching just above freezing during the day. The lack of moisture continues, and we have no snow. The majority of wetlands are now frozen with about a 1/2 inch of ice.
North Battleford, Saskatchewan
DUC Biologist Kelly Rempel
Most water is now iced over after a week of lows between -10F and -15F. Many birds have migrated out of western Saskatchewan, but a few flocks of Canadas, mallards, and even a few snow geese are holding tough on the little open water remaining.
Red Deer, Alberta
DUC Biologist Ian MacFarlane
With no major storms or weather changes for the past 2-3 months there was no urgency to the fall migration this year. The recent cold snap has resulted in increased movement and concentrated birds. There are still good numbers of mallards and Canada geese in the area. Snow geese have been reported south of Stettler, which is further west than typical.
Much of southern Alberta experienced the first push of Arctic air and snow on Oct 27. Temperatures dropped from highs near 60-65 F on Saturday to 25 F on Sunday. Overnight temperatures were 5-10F. Snow fall amounts were in the 2-6 inch range. Temperatures have since recovered but many small ponds now have 1 inch of ice. More snow and cooler temperatures are in the forecast for the coming weekend.