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Banding Together for Waterfowl

blue-winged teal


Life as a nest-cam intern

John Palarski and Nick Conrad’s mornings began this summer at 7:30 a.m. with the loading of their ATVs, just outside their rented lodge in Goodrich, N.D. They packed video cameras, batteries, GPS devices, flags and stakes, a drag chain, egg candler and paper bag lunches. They strapped everything down, flicked yesterday’s ticks from their helmets and with the morning still cool, set off for the Ducks Unlimited Coteau Ranch, where they had been conducting research on duck nesting behaviors.

Gear Up for Bluewings

Blue-winged teal have been on a roll the past few years. In 2013, an estimated 7.7 million breeding bluewings were surveyed on their northern nesting grounds—60 percent above the long-term average. This year, that number is up 10 percent to 8.5 million breeding bluewings. With liberal seasons announced once again, including the addition of several northern states offering an experimental teal season, now is the time to start planning a teal hunt. Following is a list of essential gear to help you start your teal season off right.

Blue-winged teal tactics

Mike Checkett, Ducks Unlimited Communications Specialist, demonstrates how to mimic the sound of a bluewing teal using both a bluewing teal call and a mallard hen call.

Bluewing Bonanza

Blue-winged teal are truly the "early birds" of the fall waterfowl migration.

Blue-winged magic

By Labor Day, large flights of teal are on the move, riding the cool winds of early cold fronts. For waterfowl hunters, the appearance of these swift little ducks is a welcome harbinger of autumn following a long, hot summer. These early migrants are many waterfowler's first opportunities of the season.

Migration Alert: Texas Migratory Bird Hunting Report

Sept. 2, 2011: Leveed ponds and fields that have water are holding significant blue-winged teal numbers. Unfortunately, the drought is limiting suitable habitat.

Tips for Hunting Early Teal

While weather and local habitat conditions will affect where and when bluewings will be available, the following teal-hunting tips will help you make the most of your hunting opportunities when these fast-flying little ducks blow into your area.

Gulf Coast / Yucatan - Mexico

An overview of Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation work in the Gulf Coast / Yucatan - Mexico priority area.

Teal Time

During the dog days of August, when much of North America is still sweltering under intense summer heat, blue-winged teal are already beginning their long migration south.

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