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Waterfowl Migration Reports — Central

Avery Outdoors takes a look at Waterfowl migration reports.

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Name: Bill Schaefer

Date:  1/25/15

Location:Western Colorado

Weather:Warm, clear, sunny remains the story here! This January was one of the warmest on record as highs were consistently in the 40’s and 50’s. The past several weeks have gone by without precipitation as well.  Lack of snow and cold conditions seems to have geese feeding consistently in the morning and afternoon.  Many medium/large bodies of water have experienced melting and began to hold birds again. Regardless, the majority of waterfowl have continued to use the Colorado River as a primary roosting site. This week’s forecast shows no sign of significant temperature drops or precipitation with daytime temperatures in the mid 50’s.   

Snow Cover: None

Water Conditions: Smaller bodies of water are completely frozen with medium/large bodies partially frozen.  Warmer daytime temps have allowed for some thawing on these larger bodies. Ice flows and build-up on the Colorado River has receded due to warmer daytime temps.  Canada geese seem to be primarily roosting on the river at night and certain groups will loaf on ice or any open water on larger lakes/ponds during the day.  Opportunistic mallards are utilizing multiple bodies of open water including ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. 

Feeding Conditions: More corn fields were harvested this week with the dry weather allowing farmers access to combine fields.  With the conclusion of the last week of the waterfowl season, no snow cover and plentiful sources of food sustained the large number of Canada geese in the area.  Some groups of birds continue to graze on a variety of diets including: corn, alfalfa, and winter wheat however, most birds seem to prefer the winter wheat sources at this time.  Ducks seem to be focusing feeding efforts primarily in the evenings, depending on weather conditions that day and most fly out to feed at sunset.

Species and Numbers: This year’s largest concentration of canada geese are currently here with numbers locally estimated at approximately 3 – 5 thousand. Mallards were scarce during the cold snap around the holidays but, with warmer temps arriving, a reverse migration seems to have taken place due to an influx of ducks observed during the past two weeks. 

Migrations:Ongoing warm temperatures have kept birds around but, many have become patterned and stale. The last two weeks have produced “spring like” temperatures and with that an influx of mallards has been observed which, could be indicative of a reverse migration.  Large flocks of sandhill cranes were recently observed migrating north, another indication of reverse migration and unseasonably warm conditions.   

Season Stage:The 2014/2015 waterfowl season officially closed this weekend.  Conditions were more challenging in the final week due to increased hunting pressure and warm, still conditions however, cold morning temps did allow for some success.     

Hunting Report: Warming conditions have allowed birds to fly earlier and feed throughout the day, sometimes twice daily.  Geese seem especially accustomed to feeding throughout the whole day during overcast, snowy, or rainy days but, the past week has not produced these conditions. Decoying birds has been difficult on still days but, periodic wind and overcast conditions has helped much.  Geese seem to be feeding primarially in winter wheat and grasses.   

 

Name:  Vance Stolz

Date:1-27-1

Location:Johnstown Colorado (Northern Front Range)

Weather:The weather here along the Front Range of Colorado continues to be somewhat unpredictable. We had lows in teens and snow last week and now we have highs reaching low 70’s and dry! The next 7-day forecast is calling for temperatures to moderate somewhat with a chance of 2-3 inches of snow this coming weekend.

Snow Cover: No snow cover due to recent warm temperatures.

Water Conditions: Most ponds and lakes are frozen, however with the recent warm days; some appear to be opening up in certain areas. River systems are mostly open.

Feeding Conditions: With the recent snow melt, birds have plenty of food sources in harvested corn as well as winter wheat and grass areas.  

Species and Numbers: Significant increase of both dark geese as well as Mallards in the area over the past 2-weeks.    

Migrations: Significant reverse migration in the area as well as the birds in the area spreading out more with the recent warm temp’s.

Season Stage:Duck season closed January 25th. Goose remains open until February 15th.

Hunting Report:  The hunting has certainly improved for many over the past couple of weeks. Duck season closed this past Sunday as numbers were increasing significantly. Most hunters were able to end their duck season on a positive note with at the very least large numbers, mostly Mallards in the area. Goose hunting has picked up as well for most. The geese are stretching out more with the recent warm days and snow melt, allowing for more opportunities to be near the birds.  

Gossip: Although duck season is now closed, we still have until February 15th to chase the dark geese! Typically in this part of Colorado, we get a reverse migration of mostly lessers coming back through the area allowing for some great shooting opportunities for the last 2-3 weeks of the regular season.  

 

Name:  David Harper

Date:January 27, 2015

Location:Jerome, Idaho

Weather:Things are starting to warm up in this last week and are now resembling spring time temperatures. High temps are pushing near 50 with lows barely getting to freezing and rain showers starting to show up.

Snow Cover: Most snow has now melted with the warm temps, producing muddy conditions.

Water Conditions: Area waters are starting to melt with just some ice around the edge of the ponds and lakes.

Feeding Conditions: Many fields are starting to show green in the fields along with pastures and riparian areas starting to green up as well. Many places are providing a lot of food.  

Species and Numbers: Last week provided an abundance of mallards as well as wigeons and pintails. The Snake River held very large numbers of diving birds and the valley was full of Canada geese. Specks and snows are slowing starting to trickle in to the area in small numbers.    

Migrations: A large number of birds have moved into the area but low numbers of specklebelly and snow geese so far. But starting to see some makes for some good news.

Season Stage:Ducks and Canada geese closed January 23 but specklebelly geese run to the end of February with snow geese open until March 10.

Hunting Report:  The main season ended with good bags for most hunters. Right now we are in a transition just waiting on the specks to move in with numbers worth hunting over the next week or so.  

Gossip: Snows and specks are being spotted more and more regular meaning we could be into some decent hunting here soon.  


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