The 2017 waterfowl migration has gotten off to a hot start. Most locations experienced a cooler than normal October unlike the past few years. This has ducks and geese ahead of schedule in their southward journey. Reports of higher than normal numbers have come in from all across the country and even through the southern states. While this early cold weather has been great for parts of the country, it has left southern areas anxious for their season to open as they sit and watch all of the early arriving waterfowl.
Early migrating ducks have been well ahead of schedule through the month of October. Many locations have reported not only higher than average numbers, but also record numbers for this early in the season. Surveys out of Illinois recently counted duck numbers 146% above average for this time of year. Places across Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska are all experiencing a similar early influx of birds.
Further north across the northern tier of states, snow and ice have already began to play a factor in the migration. Many locations across southern Canada and the northern US have snow cover and much of the water is frozen. Waterfowl in large numbers are keeping open water themselves on small bodies of water and many rivers have yet to freeze. While there is snow cover in these parts, there aren’t many locations that have a deep enough snow pack to drive all of the birds south. Even with the sub freezing highs and lows in the single digits, southern Canada and the norther tier of the US will continue to have birds until the snow pack gets deep enough to cover the food sources.
The Next 10 Days
Unfortunately, the weather looks to moderate as we move into next week. The upper level trough centered over the middle of the country will be replaced with a ridge of high pressure and temperatures will warm across much of the middle of the US. Canada looks to remain cold, but there are no large winter storms on the horizon that could add to the snowpack up there.
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