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Waterfowl Migration Update

It’s been a whirlwind of weather the past 10 days. Cold fronts have been followed by a few days of warming only to be hit again with another cold front. The pattern we’re currently in, is fast paced and full of temperature swings. Unfortunately not many places have been able to cash in on the cold air and catch a good snow fall. Many early migrants have made strides south and waterfowl that hug the ice line have been moving back and forth with each warm up/cool down, but the birds that ride the snow line have been hung up. This see saw of temperatures has another tilt on the way late this week and even another in the middle of next week.

Where there was water, there were good numbers of ducks for the Arkansas opener last weekend. This early cold weather had bird numbers above average in many places. Illinois waterfowl numbers remain very strong for this time of year and Missouri surveyed nearly 40% more birds than this time last year. Ducks that ride the ice line are then further north. Find open water and you’ll find waterfowl in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

There has been numerous fronts the past 10 days that have dropped the temperature 15-20 degrees. Between these fronts there has been couple days of above average temperatures, but it’s quick to fall back off. While we don’t often think about reverse migrations this early in the season, this early push has a large number of birds further south than normal for this time of year. The last two days in Illinois, temperatures approached 60 degrees with a solid south wind. Numerous flocks of both ducks and geese (snows and specks) were spotted heading north yesterday. Behind the front out west, there was a decent push of ducks and geese out of the Dakotas and into Nebraska. While warm temperatures are far from ideal for waterfowl hunters, they still hold promise when combined with these sharp cold fronts that seem to sweep across the country once a week in the pattern we’re in.

The Week Ahead

Cold today, but another warmup already taking shape for Friday. Temperatures could reach near 70 degrees in Kansas and Nebraska on Friday while southern North Dakota could touch 50 before the next front moves through. This front, while not as sharp as the ones prior, should still knock temperatures back 20 degrees across the northern tier of states. The return southerly flow starts cranking up on Sunday and above normal temperatures will be abundant into the start of next week. There are hints of a potential storm pulling together across Nebraska in the middle of next week and this may be one of the few we’ve seen this year that packs a decent amount of precipitation. The question will be rather or not enough cold air can make a return after the warmup to drop any snow. If it does happen to get cold enough soon enough, the potential snow could fall across the Dakotas and into Minnesota. Being that it is still a week away, there are plenty of question marks, but there is at least the potential. After that potential, the patten looks to relax and moderate as we move toward the end of November.

*Map below depicts potential snow depth on 11/29/2017

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