Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Duck migration powers up

December 9, 2014 5:00 am  •  
Des Moines - Cold temperatures, snow and wind this week across the Dakotas and Minnesota are being watched closely by Iowa waterfowlers. Migrating duck numbers have gradually been increasing in Iowa. This week’s weather will push lot of those northern birds south. That is good news here for hunters, birdwatchers and other outdoor enthusiasts IF the ducks and geese stick around.
It’s important to look at the whole weather system, not just which way the wind is blowing, where--and on the days--you hunt.
“A lot of ducks are moving south, but how the weather system tracks is important,” reminds DNR waterfowl technician Al Hancock. “If we are sitting with west winds blowing out of the Dakotas and through Iowa, that’s optimal.”
However, he reminds hunters that it is important to look at the rotation of that storm cell; to track wind direction on the backside. If prevailing winds turn out of the southeast or south, it could set migrating ducks down for a couple days. If the north or westerly push continues, they could fly straight through. Most internet weather sites now have wind maps available. 
“We had a gradual increase in numbers through the third week of October; no major movements,” said Hancock. “However in the last two weeks, we have seen bigger migration.” 
He charts weekly counts, reported from refuges, hunting areas and other wetland locations across Iowa. The weekly statewide waterfowl report is at www.iowadnr.gov. Click on Hunting, then Migratory Birds, to find your way to the reports…filed each Friday.

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