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Why Ducks May No Longer Fly South

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April 07, 2010

Why Ducks May No Longer Fly South

By Chad Love

Many southern waterfowlers can attest to the fact that season dates, especially early season openers, do not always translate into actual ducks. We may be sweating in our waders while the ducks are still living it up in their northern digs. If there's no reason to fly south, why do it, right? At least that's the finding of a recent study on bird migration.

From the story via Wired:

Birds may have an unexpected strategy for adapting to climate change. In addition to migrating at different times to newly hospitable locales, they may also shorten their migrations, expending energy on breeding and eating rather than flying. “There’s lots of data on bird arrival and bird breeding times, and that gives the impression that these are the most important phenomena,” said zoologist Francisco Pulido of the Complutense University of Madrid. The basic impulse to migrate is likely just as important, “but it’s been much more difficult to show, and so it hasn’t been appreciated,” he said.

Pulido and Max Planck Institute ornithologist Peter Berthold describe patterns found in 13 years of data from a southern German population of blackcaps, a common migratory songbird, in a study published April 5 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As temperatures in central Europe have risen, blackcaps have arrived earlier at summertime breeding areas and departed later for their winter homes. Some researchers have predicted blackcaps would also migrate over ever-shorter distances, and in some cases stop altogether, allowing them to save energy and concentrate on finding food and mates. But this hadn’t been tested.

So waterfowlers, did you notice any unusual migration patterns (or lack thereof) this past season?

Comments (13)

Top Rated
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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 1 week ago

Yes.

We had a delayed first freeze.

Followed by an Arctic Blast that lasted three days.

Never saw a Mallard or a Swan.

They went straight to Mexico or wherever.

Very few geese, and this is where some sub-species of Canada Geese winter.

We have seven subspecies of Honkers here.

Because of changes in water levels up North, geese are having to find new breeding areas, and this was one way to differentiate them.

I shot a goose at the wildlife area, and the officer had to "estimate" which subspecies it might be.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CaptChuck57 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

definitely less ducks this year here in the deep south.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob81 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

Here in a Wisconsin I shot a wood duck in the last couple weeks of the season. They are usually one of the first ones to clear out and head south. Don't normally even see them after the first few weeks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 1 week ago

seemed normal for me and the dog here in CO. lot's of geese and ducks for the first part of the season. didn't hunt much after dog got injured though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 4 years 1 week ago

And still the majority says there is no threat of global warming.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

colorado was completely normal awesome season

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KyleKortright wrote 4 years 1 week ago

I have deffintly noticied that the geese here in New York have been staying around longer and coming back earlier.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 1 week ago

Loads of ducks in Colorado this year. Maybe a few to many scaup...lol. The geese were nothing to gripe about either. Maybe the research is flawed or there is another reason behind the migration change of the blackcaps but the Europeans are fast to blame global warming as the patent answer for everything.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

We had a lot of global warming here in WV this winter. Several days below 0 and I lost track of the feet of snow that we had.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyle wrote 4 years 1 week ago

What every state in the lower U.S had snow this year!! Al Gore most up and at it again!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyle wrote 4 years 1 week ago

most should must. LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidvlane wrote 4 years 1 week ago

So we are basing our duck migration patterns on a songbird? On another continent? Useless science, except for that particular species being studied. In Florida, we had one of our coldest winters in recorded history. Thousands of palm trees of various species were killed in central and south Florida due to prolonged periods of extremely cold weather. Many of these trees are 30 years and older.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don K wrote 4 years 6 days ago

We had a normal season here in NE Ohio - no ducks & the geese only go where you can't hunt them. Great place to live.

Don K

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 1 week ago

Yes.

We had a delayed first freeze.

Followed by an Arctic Blast that lasted three days.

Never saw a Mallard or a Swan.

They went straight to Mexico or wherever.

Very few geese, and this is where some sub-species of Canada Geese winter.

We have seven subspecies of Honkers here.

Because of changes in water levels up North, geese are having to find new breeding areas, and this was one way to differentiate them.

I shot a goose at the wildlife area, and the officer had to "estimate" which subspecies it might be.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CaptChuck57 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

definitely less ducks this year here in the deep south.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob81 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

Here in a Wisconsin I shot a wood duck in the last couple weeks of the season. They are usually one of the first ones to clear out and head south. Don't normally even see them after the first few weeks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from KyleKortright wrote 4 years 1 week ago

I have deffintly noticied that the geese here in New York have been staying around longer and coming back earlier.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 1 week ago

Loads of ducks in Colorado this year. Maybe a few to many scaup...lol. The geese were nothing to gripe about either. Maybe the research is flawed or there is another reason behind the migration change of the blackcaps but the Europeans are fast to blame global warming as the patent answer for everything.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidvlane wrote 4 years 1 week ago

So we are basing our duck migration patterns on a songbird? On another continent? Useless science, except for that particular species being studied. In Florida, we had one of our coldest winters in recorded history. Thousands of palm trees of various species were killed in central and south Florida due to prolonged periods of extremely cold weather. Many of these trees are 30 years and older.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 1 week ago

seemed normal for me and the dog here in CO. lot's of geese and ducks for the first part of the season. didn't hunt much after dog got injured though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 4 years 1 week ago

And still the majority says there is no threat of global warming.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

colorado was completely normal awesome season

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 4 years 1 week ago

We had a lot of global warming here in WV this winter. Several days below 0 and I lost track of the feet of snow that we had.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyle wrote 4 years 1 week ago

What every state in the lower U.S had snow this year!! Al Gore most up and at it again!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyle wrote 4 years 1 week ago

most should must. LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don K wrote 4 years 6 days ago

We had a normal season here in NE Ohio - no ducks & the geese only go where you can't hunt them. Great place to live.

Don K

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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