The Stage is Set - Ducks are on the Move - Iowa Wildlife Federation

The Stage is Set – Ducks are on the Move

Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.

Sever's Pothole  09-09-2013







Northern Iowa’s prairie wetlands have made a dramatic comeback during 2013.  Following two years of searing drought, improved water levels have led to excellent production of locally nesting mallards and wood ducks.  The fruits of those labors are currently on display as flocks gather in preparation for the fall migration.

For the first time in decades, many local wetlands are supporting substantial growths of regenerated aquatic plant life.  The newly created combination of food and cover is attracting ducks like a magnet.  The numbers of recently arriving blue-winged teal is also building.  Blue-wings are the first duck to depart the prairies each fall.  No waterfowl species travels faster or farther down the flyways, and this year’s migration is at its peak.

In Northern Iowa, there have already been two major arrivals of southbound teal this month; one on September 2 and a second on September 6.  Since this year’s duck season doesn’t open until September 21, we’re guaranteed to miss the bulk of the blue-wing flight.  Unfortunate, as usual, but hopefully we’ll hold on to enough stragglers to bag at least a few of these speedy and extremely tasty feathered travelers.  But regardless of whether or not the blue-wings decide to stick around, mallards and wood ducks are certain to be in strong supply when this year’s Opening Day finally rolls around.

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