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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Migration Update: November 5, 2010

Weather System Triggers Big Waterfowl Movements
  • An early cold front has waterfowl moving from the Canadian Prairies and into the U.S.
    photo by C. Connely
  • Light geese are reportedly on the move across the northern Prairie Pothole Region.
    photo by Michael McQuoid
  • Mallards have also been reported in large numbers throughout North and South Dakota.
    photo by Bill Houghton
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The powerful low pressure system and accompanying cold front that brought hurricane-force winds, rain, snow, and cold temperatures to much of the northern tier of the United States also pushed large numbers of waterfowl south.

"The warm October weather coupled with the abundance of grain and other crops in the fields had not given the ducks much reason to move south," says Dave Kostersky, DU Canada's manager of state grants. "When the cold snap crossed the Canadian prairies last week, huge numbers of ducks went south."

Hunters on major waterfowl staging areas like Devils Lake, N.D., the Upper Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., and Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, S.D., reported big influxes of ducks and geese in the wake of the big blow.

Following are reports from DU's Migration Map and from the Avery pro-staff about waterfowl numbers and hunting success in their areas:

DU Migration Map Report

H. Nelson reported Near peak numbers & migration of Puddle Ducks in Milton, N.D.
Submitted: 11/2/2010 3:38:32 PM
Time: Early morning    
Temp: 51 - 60 degrees    
Weather: Overcast
Wind: 5 - 10 mph    
There are a lot of mallards and Canadas up here. I've been scouting a lot near Grass Lake there is a ton of them up here, right after this bad weather.  I've seen twice as many geese and puddle ducks around, because most of the small ponds are froze over. I have had really good luck over here with the mallards.

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Avery Pro-staff field report

Name: Rick Frisch       
Date: November 1, 2010
Location: Devils Lake, N.D.   
Weather: We have had many extremes in weather in the last week.  There was snow early last week and temperatures are going to be in the fifties this week.
Species and Numbers: There are great numbers of birds in the area.  Mallards, Canada geese, snow/blue geese are all very abundant.  Divers are starting to show up in good numbers on the big water.
Migrations: We had a big push of new birds late last week ahead of the big  front that came through.

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