If you have a photo or video of live ducks or geese, fill out a brief questionnaire, attach the photo/video, and leave the rest to us! We use artificial intelligence and in-house software to process the media file and turn it into useable, and most importantly to us, verifiable migration data!

waterfowl-migration-laptop-phone-large

Follow along with our Migration Map!

After you read our migration reports and watch the migration updates, be sure to check out our Migration Map.

With out Migration Map, you can stay in the know on duck counts, waterfowl surveys, and migration reports from across the country.

Our Migration Map is updated daily throughout the season, is interactive with various species and observable date ranges, and is completely free-to-use, so be sure to check it out!

'23 - '24 Waterfowl Migration Reports

January 26th, 2024

Migration Report:

The ducks moved south, but rapid thaw and warm weathers could lead to varied movements and potentially increased hunter success as they venture out in search of fresh habitat.

With more and more data coming in, its becoming increasingly obvious that a very large push of ducks occurred on the heels of a week ago’s arctic blast.

Now, with warmer weather here (and even more on the horizon), rainfall across much of the south, and fresh habitat now available, we believe hunter success could reach season highs for states like Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi as the season winds to a close.

We don’t have many much of an update for the Pacific or Atlantic Flyways since our Migration Update earlier in the week—so if you haven’t already checked that out, give it a listen!

This will likely be our last duck migration update. Thank you to all that have followed along this season. It means more to us that we could ever explain!

Migration Report - January 26 2024

January 24th, 2024

Migration Report:

Evidence of a migratory event from California all the way through the Mississippi Flyway and out, to a lesser extent, into the Coastal Carolinas on the heels of this recent arctic blast is set to (hopefully) end the season on a high note.

“Better late than never” 

The old cliche is especially bittersweet when talking about our favorite pursuit, but we believe if you’re a waterfowler whose season is still in, it will ring especially true as this duck season winds down.

From increased hunter success in California’s Sac Valley, to increasing duck counts in Oklahoma, Illinois and Tennessee, to an increase in field reports from Arkansas and out east in the Coastal Carolinas, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a major migration event occurred on the heels of this recent prolonged arctic blast.

And with warmer weather on the horizon, the stage is set for a thaw to end the season, which usually corresponds to birds who were just trying to survive the ice milling around looking for new habitat, which in turn can lead to an increase in hunter success.

January 19th, 2024

Migration Report:

Geese have moved down the flyway on the heels of this arctic blast, with large populations in (northern) Illinois and Oklahoma.

We’re well aware this recent arctic blast moved ducks southward, but the same seems to be true for Canada geese, just maybe not as far south. 

Central IL saw a healthy push of Canada geese into the area over the past week, with large flocks being spotted in areas along the Illinois River; Fulton County stands out, specifically.

Oklahoma has also seen a good push of Canada geese lately, whether it be Greaters or Lessers. No one area in particular stands out as having overly-high numbers—there just seems to be a good amount across much of the state.

With seasons closed across much of the northern United States, data coverage has dwindled for states like the Dakotas and Minnesota. We’re confident there are geese still up there, but (read the first disclaimer below) we can’t cover what we don’t know, so those areas remain blank on the map.

Migration Report - January 19 2024

January 17th, 2024

Migration Report:

Be it harvest reports, migration reports, or physical counts, birds are moving south with the prolonged freeze up north.

Prior to this arctic blast, duck counts in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (areas like West TN, West KY, Southern IL, AR, MS and LA) were increasing from prior levels, but were still average at best (KY, TN) or well below average (anywhere south of there). However, there has definitely been a push of ducks into these areas.

For example, as of a few days ago, areas in western KY were holding nearly 2x their long-term average. Similar could be said for certain (not all) western TN areas. Harvest reports coincide.

That said, with the ongoing deep freeze, experiences afield may vary, as shallow water impoundments remain locked up and birds are sticking to whatever safe, deep waters they can find. In this regard, remain curious until the thaw.

Out west, hunting continues to be better-than-normal comparing after-the-cold-snap to before, but much like all season, success varies day by day and area by area.

In the Atlantic Flyway, we are finally starting to get some reports of respectable concentrations of birds (and swans!) making their way into the Carolinas and beyond.

Migration Report - January 17 2024

January 10th, 2024

Migration Report:

The highest potential for migratory movement we’ve seen all season lies in the 10 day forecast. While too late for some (Middle Zone Missouri, South-Central Illinois), this could be just what southern waterfowl’s are waiting for.

The next 10-days hold the highest potential for major migratory movement we’ve seen all season.

Brutal cold. Frozen reservoirs and river systems. Snow in areas that just a week ago were holding well-above-average numbers of birds.

While too little too late for some (sorry Middle Zone Missouri and South-Central Illinois), this fresh push of birds could be what southern waterfowl’s have been waiting for since season opened, and could make for a drastically different second half compared to the season’s first half.

Stay tuned to our socials and especially the migration map on our website as this the next week or so unfolds! 

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

January4th, 2024

Migration Report:

Birds are starting to move south with the colder weather, but their movements have been gradual and there is still above-average numbers in central states.

The trend of patiently waiting seems to be continuing with this migration report.

Although the cold snap that occurred between Christmas and New Years appeared to move some birds southward—with areas like White Lake TN, Ballard Co., KY, and refuges in SEMO adding new birds to their count—the numbers in these areas for this time of year ranges from well-below average to average compared to years past.

Reports out of Arkansas are varied, with areas along the Cache and Bayou Meto holding a fair amount (nothing to get worked up over), to areas like the Little River Ditches, Big Lake or the Black River still not seeing the normal numbers for this year.

In the Atlantic Flyway, the coastal Carolinas reportedly are having good success, but from what I understand, opportunities out there are few and far between. Be safe. Further down the coast, the marshes of south Florida are continuing their trend of good success with teal and ring-neck ducks.

Out west, same ole same ole. Success is being had, but numbers fluctuate and a good time afield requires doing some homework and maybe a little bit of Mother Nature cooperation.

Migration Report - January 4 2024

December 27th, 2023

Migration Report:

For the first time this season, conditions are shaping up for a migratory events into the southern Mississippi and Central flyways.

If you’re a waterfowler in the southern United States, the week ahead may have what you’re looking for.

An extended period of below-freezing temperatures on the prairies. Accumulations of snowfall along the Missouri River. A multi-day north wind. A full moon. 

With the combination of all the above, we believe a migratory event into the southern portions of the Central Flyway and Mississippi Flyway is likely to occur over the next few days and into the new year.

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

December 21st, 2023

Migration Report:

Recent counts in Iowa match the peak from the 2022-2023 season. Will it trend down from here, or build as the lack of migratory weather keeps them from moving further south?

We questioned whether or not to even post this week’s Canada goose migration update, but figured there is useful information in conveying “not much has changed”, so here it is! 

Just as we were calling for, goose counts in Iowa matched the peak counts from the 2022-2023 season. In other words, Canada goose populations in the state are near what, in a normal year, we would expect to be the peak. 

However this time last year, everywhere north of the Missouri experienced a severe blizzard and cold snap—the Might Missouri River itself froze solid in many places that normally does not occur, and the Mississippi River as far south as Cape Girardeau, MO turned to 75%+ ice flow. This severe weather snap dropped the goose count in states like Iowa drastically. 

But this year, we don’t have the same major weather event on the horizon. So where will the geese stop? For ducks, the answer appears to be Northern Missouri, but for geese, we expect the answer to be further north. Stay tuned as this plays out—the northern states might hold onto these geese for longer than usual as Mother Nature bides her time.

 It is worth noting, our Canada goose coverage is not as expansive as our duck data coverage, hence the blank parts of the map. You can help us out by snapping a photo or video of live birds and submitting a report via this link.

Migration Report - December 21 2023

December 19th, 2023

Migration Report:

All eyes are on Missouri, as public areas along the stretch of the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis are holding nearly 750,000 birds.

If you’re a waterfowler in SEMO, Arkansas, Mississippi, Western Tennessee or Western Kentucky, you ought to be paying attention to the temps and the weather patterns between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Reason being, is as of December 18th, there were nearly three quarters of a million (~750,000) ducks on the refuges and conservation areas along the stretch of the Mighty MO (Missouri River) between these two cities.

Further evidence of this year’s stalled migration is that—while the northern part of the state holds above-average numbers during this below-average season—areas like Duck Creek, Ten Mile Pond and Otter Slough (Missouri game areas) still have not seen much of an increase over the past few weeks. 

In the Central Flyway and Pacific Flyways, much remains the same. Great success can be found where scouting pays off, but pressure remains high, and birds grow more educated by the day.

Other interesting notes are that in southern Florida, concentrations of Ring-necked ducks and Teal are presently very high, and if Shovelers are your thing, last weeka population of over 20,000 individuals strong was reported on Walker Lake in Nevada.

Migration Report - December 19 2023

December 14th, 2023

Migration Report:

The migration continues, but it has been slow, and anything but steady. In this video we break down why we think that is.

Unusually warm weather, a drought in the usual wintering grounds, and a lack of hard north wind days has highlighted the season so far for most waterfowlers in the middle and southern United States. 

All of the above has had an impact on the migratory movements (or lack thereof) of ducks and geese this season, and on the success of waterfowlers afield.

So what’s it going to take to get things back on track this season and get the duck migration into full swing?

We’ll take a look at answering that question, but spoiler alert, the answer is pretty simple. 

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

December 13th, 2023

Migration Report:

Peak Canada goose numbers likely for Iowa, compared to long-term average for Mid-December. Oklahoma surprisingly hosting large amounts of Lesser Canada geese at present.

Same story, different day. Despite mild weather and little migratory winds, the geese have continued their southward movement. 

In the Mississippi Flyway, IA is at what we would expect to be near-peak numbers for the season when comparing the current counts to the long-term average. Northern IL is also holding respectable amounts of geese at present, and while small in comparison to their northern neighbors, even Northern MO is holding more geese at the moment than we would’ve guessed.

Along the Central Flyway, OK remains a unique surprise, as very large amounts of Canada geese, many of the Lesser variety, are in and/or passing through the state. It seems every wheat field or cut milo field has been a feed at some point over the past week or so.

In the Pacific Flyway, our data coverage is sparse, but reports would indicate the number of Canada geese remain relatively strong in the PNW, with recent rainfall moving them around a bit.

In the northern Atlantic Flyway the indications are Canada goose populations are above average for the time of year.

Migration Report - December 13 2023

December 12th, 2023

Migration Report:

Ducks moving into Missouri and Kansas. Missouri’s mid-December counts 10% above long-term average. Mild weather holds back hunter success.

Despite the continuation of unseasonably mild weather and an extreme lack of water on the landscape in crucial wintering grounds, ducks are continuing a slow march southward.

Recent counts in Missouri show the mid-December duck population is slightly ABOVE average compared to the long-term average, and that a very large proportion (~75%) of the species make-up is Mallards. Admittedly, areas in the northern half of the state are carrying the aforementioned statistics.

In the Central Flyway, Kansas has shown an uptick in duck concentrations compared to last week, especially in the central and far-eastern portions of the state. 

In the Pacific Flyway, mixed results seem to be the continuing trend—with weather-dependent hunting success ruling the reports and storylines as opposed to one particular location holding relatively higher concentrations of birds over other areas.

Presently, the relatively largest concentration of ducks remains near St Louis, MO where the Missouri and Illinois River meet the Mississippi. Reports of hunting success is mixed however, with this large presence of ducks being heavily patterned.

Migration Report - December 12 2023

December 7th, 2023

Migration Report:

Geese continuing to move slowly. They are about a week or two behind in Iowa (and Mississippi Flyway) compared to historical averages.

Similar to what we reported yesterday on the migratory movement of ducks, Canada geese have continued their migrations as well—but to a much lesser extent.

In the Central Flyway, geese have continued to move along into Kansas and Oklahoma, and in the Mississippi Flyway geese have (FINALLY) moved into northern Iowa and south along the Missouri River.

For what it’s worth, the move of geese into north and western Iowa is about one to two weeks behind schedule, compared to what is normal from years past.

As mentioned prior, the largest week-to-week shifts occurred in Iowa and the largest concentrations of Canada geese are presently in Illinois and southern Minnesota.

It is worth noting, our Canada goose coverage is not as expansive as our duck data coverage, thus areas in the Atlantic, Pacific and parts of the Central Flyways are not covered, hence the blank parts of the map. You and can help us out by snapping a photo or taking a video of live Canada geese near you and submit a migration report via this link.

Migration Report - December 7 2023

December 6th, 2023

Migration Report:

Migration ongoing, slowly but surely. Largest concentration of birds is at the confluence of the Illinois River and Missouri River with the Mississippi River near St Louis, MO.

Despite the weather remaining mild and relatively un-interesting, ducks are indeed continuing their southward migrations.

This is evidenced by the shift of birds southward along the Illinois and Missouri Rivers. NW MO—while still holding a very large amount of birds—has experienced a net loss of ducks over the past two weeks, and the stretch of the Illinois River between Peoria, IL and Beardstown, IL is similarly holding a very large concentration of birds, but less so than around Thanksgiving time.

Unfortunately, in areas like Oklahoma, Mississippi and other states below the center-line of the United States, mild weather and slow migration has meant ducks are adapting to hunting pressure and spreading out, leading to a decrease in hunter success and bird encounters.

In the Pacific Flyway, things have been relatively stable. Reports of hunter success has been widely-raging and area-dependent, unchanged from last week’s report.

Presently, the relatively largest concentration of ducks is at the confluence of the Missouri and Illinois Rivers with the Mississippi River, near St Louis, MO.

Migration Report - December 6 2023

December 1st, 2023

Migration Report:

The migration is happening, to be sure, but so far it seems slow and steady with the bulk of the mallard flight still up north. Southern states sure could use some water.

The mallards are still up north, but the photo migrators are already well into their migration. So what gives?

Well, firstly, while it might not appear that major migration events have occurred, slowly but surely mallards are making their way south, as evidenced by our analysis of mallard distributions at wetlands across the Mississippi Flyway. So don’t lose heart!

But lastly, it’s been relatively mild up north. The lows have been below freezing, but the highs haven’t been overly cold for an extended period of time. That, and it’s incredibly dry in the southern states. These two things combined have led to a unique year so far, where some ducks are further south than most would anticipate for this time of year, yet more ducks are still up north than we would’ve anticipated as well.

Stay in the know on when the migration hits your neck of the woods by checking out our migration map, which can be found via this link.

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

November 30th, 2023

Migration Report:

Geese slowly, but surely moving southward. Whether its regional movements due to mild weather, or migratory movements further south remains to be seen.

Despite a continued trend of non-migratory weather, for the first time in several weeks we’ve noticed a small shift southward in the Canada goose migration map. That said, it is yet to be seen on whether or not this is migratory-type movement, or just local dispersion due to the continued trend of milder-than-normal weather for most of the country.

Presently, the largest concentrations of Canada geese are along the Minnesota / Iowa border, in northern Illinois, and in Oklahoma. 

 It is worth noting, our Canada goose coverage is not as expansive as our duck data coverage, thus areas in the Atlantic, Pacific and parts of the Central Flyways are not covered, hence the blank parts of the map. You and can help us out by snapping a photo or taking a video of live Canada geese near you and submit a migration report via this link.

Migration Report - November 30 2023

November 29th, 2023

Migration Report:

Ducks are concentrated where there’s water—usually big water. Teal and Divers make their way to Florida.

Due to what we assume is the severe dryness across much of the southern parts of the country, ducks are sticking very close to the major river systems or large water bodies.

This is evidenced not only by the anecdotal reports we’ve been receiving from our followers, but the verifiable data in our database which shows the largest concentrations of birds along the Illinois and Arkansas River systems in Illinois and Oklahoma respectively, and the Mississippi River Delta in Mississippi.

Also, worth noting, the Stormwater Treatment Areas in southern Florida appear to have a large concentration of teal and ring-neck at the moment.

It is worth noting, our coverage in Arkansas usually lags until mid to late December or so, when there is more water on the landscape and more ducks in the state. To be clear, we know there are ducks in Arkansas, we just can’t quantify or verify the amounts at present. But stay tuned. If you are from Arkansas and can help out, snap a photo or take a view of live Canada geese near you and submit a migration report via the link in our bio.

Migration Report - November 29 2023

November 22nd, 2023

Migration Report:

Minnesota has highest concentration of Canada geese, but little weather has meant relatively less successful outings and little migrational movement.

Similar to yesterday’s duck migration post (below), mild and un-interesting weather patterns highlights the timeframe since our last Canada goose update.

Still, while no major migrations appear to have occurred, there has still be some smaller movements on a regional basis to note. While the eastern Dakotas are still holding very respectable amounts of geese, it would appear peak numbers are in the rear-view. In what is probably a related bit of information, southern Minnesota as well as northern Iowa are starting to see increasing numbers.

Presently, the areas of largest Canada goose concentrations remain western and southwestern Minnesota.

It is worth noting, our Canada goose data coverage is not as expansive as our duck data coverage. If you can help out, snap a photo or take a view of live Canada geese near you and submit a migration report via this link.

Migration Report - November 22 2023

November 21st, 2023

Migration Report:

Little weather, little movement. Minnesota and Kansas lose a few birds. Arkansas and Oklahoma pick a few up.

Weather-wise, the past week has been uninteresting throughout most of the United States. Until yesterday, there had been ittle-to-no snowfall or precipitation, and flyway-wide winds have been scarce. As such, if comparing last week’s “Duck Migration” post to this one, you will notice very minimal changes.

Of note, Minnesota appears to have lost some ducks, as did Kansas. Meanwhile Oklahoma and Arkansas both saw increases in duck concentrations compared to last week.

Presently, the areas of largest duck concentrations remain the eastern Dakotas and the Illinois River valley down to its confluence with the Mississippi River near St. Charles, MO.

Also, for all you Pacific Flyway folks, we’ve recently increased our data coverage out your way, particularly in the state of California. Slowly but surely growing our data coverage!

Migration Report - November 21 2023

November 14th, 2023

Migration Report:

Canada geese moving along in Central Flyway, still up north in the Mississippi Flyway.

Geese are still hanging around up north in the Mississippi Flyway, and unfortunately there isn’t much on the forecast that looks like it’ll move them southward anytime soon. Presently, the largest concentrations are still around the Dakota and Minnesota, with modest populations in northern Illinois.

In the Central Flyway however, geese in respectable numbers are being reported as far south as Oklahoma where feeds nearby increasingly scarce water can be located.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t say that our Canada goose data is sparse-r than our duck data presently, with regions like the Pacific Northwest and states like Wisconsin presently un-reported on. If you’re reading this and are from those areas, please consider submitting a migration report via the link above.

Submit a migration report.

Migration Report - November 14 2023

November 13th, 2023

Migration Report:

While hunting conditions have been poor (warm, no wind), and subsequently the amount of hunter success stories we’re getting has waned, birds are still on the move.

While hunting conditions have been poor (warm, no wind), and subsequently the amount of hunter success stories we’re getting has waned, birds are still on the move.

Between Halloween and Veterans Day, areas along the Missouri River between Omaha and Kansas City and the Illinois River south of Peoria picked up a good amount of ducks, with the first big wave of mallards of the season among them.

For example, the amount of mallards at Loess Bluff NWR in Northwest Missouri tripled in the aforementioned timeframe.

Also, areas along the Arkansas River in Kansas and Oklahoma and the Red River near Texarkana have seen an influx of new birds over the past week.

There is still a very large amount of birds in the Dakota and Minnesota, to be clear, but at the season wears on with little-to-no weather events to speak of, reports indicate waning hunter success as the birds get “stale.”

And to round the report out, unfortunately indications out of Louisiana are that the current amount of birds in the state is at a record low for this time of year.

Migration Report - November 13 2023

November 7th, 2023

Migration Report:

Even though the weather for the week ahead is nothing too exciting, the believe a sharp change in the photoperiod could cause a push of birds into mid-latitude states.

Photoperiodism: an organism’s direct response to the change in the amount of light in a 24 hour period (often associated with changing seasons).

While the weather for the week ahead is nothing to get too worked up about, there’s something interesting that happens every year around this time, and we think it has to do with the term defined about.

Whether you’re in California in the Pacific Flyway, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa in the Mississippi Flyway, or Maryland in the Atlantic Flyway, the second and third week of Novembers historically bring about a large uptick in bird concentrations.

This timing also coincides with when the photoperiod changes very drastically. Not only are the days getting shorter, but the “new moon” around Veterans Day means nighttime illumination will be less than 10% for nearly a week. Shorter days, darker nights.

So we think that, while the weather is nothing too exciting, if you’re in the mid-latitude states you could potentially see a new push of birds in the coming week.

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

November 1st, 2023

Migration Report:

Canada geese still in the Dakotas in Minnesota, with respectable (but lower) concentrations in Kansas and along the middle extents of the Mississippi River.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, similar to last week’s report, the Dakotas and Minnesota are still holding large concentrations of geese. We are tracking the highest concentrations of geese in western Minnesota and Northeast South Dakota. And while our data coverage is very sparse in North Dakota (submit a report via the link in our bio if you’re up that way!) all reports from the state indicate similar—lots of geese.

That said, some geese have started to move southward, with building concentrations in Kansas and along the middle extents of the Mississippi River.

Also, for what it’s worth, the first few flocks of what are assumed to be migratory (non-local) Canada geese have been reported as far south as central Oklahoma. That said, the relative concentrations of these reports are nowhere near what’s being tracked up north, and are not worth getting worked up about (yet!).

I expect these Canada goose migration reports to look very similar through the next few weeks—it takes a lot of to move Canada geese around, and they usually are considered the last of the “photo migrators”.

Migration Report - November 1 2023

October 31st, 2023

Migration Report:

The recent weather has definitely moved birds south and shifted them off of their patterns. That, plus new habitat due to rains in the midwest, and we think the week ahead continues to look promising for those in the Pacific Flyway, Central Flyway, and Mississippi Flyway

Even moreso than we expected, the wintry weather that blanketed most of the North / Northwest in snow and left much of the central portions of the flyways with near-or-sub-freezing temps has move birds southward.

And we’ve heard many reports of migrating ducks and geese from pretty much every corner of the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways (sorry Atlantic folks). The message is consistent—birds have started to move along or have shifted patterns. 

It’s hard to say exactly where the “X” is right now, as this weather also added much-needed water to the landscape (especially in the Central and Mississippi flyways) and with that added water came added habitat. That said, the Dakotas and Minnesota still have stout concentrations of ducks, with respectable populations being report along the Illinois River and in central Kansas.

Even though the weather itself is either behind us or soon-to-be-over, we still think the week ahead could move more birds south and bring optimal hunting conditions.

Migration Report - October 31 2023

October 26th, 2023

Migration Report:

Wind, weather, low temperatures, full moon. Four-for-four on necessities for a major migratory event. Still very early in the season, but the week ahead could be a doozy.

Wind, weather, temperatures and migratory moons all point towards a high potential for migratory movements over the next week.

Up to 8” of snow is expected across a large swatch of the northern Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways.With this winter storm, lows are expected to dip into the teens and stay there through the end of the month.

On the heels of this winter weather is a modest, but consistent north wind.

And finally, the first full moon of the season—aptly named the “Hunter’s Moon” is here, and we all know photo-migrating species tend to move most with the coming of a new full moon.

All of these signs point toward the likelihood that birds will be forced off their patterns in the northern portions of the flyways, and that large amounts of new birds are likely to push into the central portions of each flyway.

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

October 25th, 2023

Migration Report:

Goose migration is right on track, no major surprises. Minnesota and Dakotas have high concentrations, with modest populations in Michigan, Ohio, and parts of New York.

We’re considering the migration of geese to be about par for the course currently.

In what should come as a surprise to no one, the Dakotas and Minnesota are the place to be (in the Lower 48) for geese presently, with modest populations in Michigan and northern Ohio as well.

Additionally, there are small populations in Iowa, Kansas, and northern Illinois, but our extensive database suggests this is just the beginning, so look for these populations to increase over the next few weeks. 

Limited data presently for the Atlantic flyway, but populations appear to be building at the Montezuma NWR complex as per usual for this time of year.

All this to say, data suggests the migration of geese is right where it normally is for this time of year.

Migration Report - October 25 2023

October 24th, 2023

Migration Report:

Reports of high bird counts, and good hunter success are coming from the Dakotas and Oregon (where there’s water). Higher than average duck populations for this time of year in northern Illinois.

With the start of season still days / weeks ahead for most of the United States, it should come to no one’s surprise that data coverage for our first migration report is somewhat sparse.

Still, for the northern United States there is a healthy amount of birds to be found where water is on the landscape, with both bird reports and reports of hunter success indicating South Dakota is the place to be at the moment.

Also, while still very early on in the season, promising counts are coming out of Illinois, with current waterfowl populations are above the long-term averages.

And while the most recent counts are down from earlier this month, much of the same can be said for parts of Oregon, where Summer Lake for example, has seen 2x the average amount of birds this October compared to Octobers from 2018 through 2022.

Migration Report - October 24 2023

October 5th, 2023

Migration Report:

First “cool front” of the year and a hard wind out of the Prairie Pothole region following last week’s full moon, and the early migrators are likely to be on the move.

The first “cool front” (not really a cold front) is blowing through the entire northern United States on the heels of last week’s full moon, and we think this will likely trigger the first migratory movements of the year, primarily among those species and populations that move early—like specks, pintail and teal.

While this weather is definitely not enough to trigger movement in some of the hardier species (like Mallards and Canada Geese), this is the perfect combination of wind, weather, and nighttime illumination for to trigger the internal clock of “photo migrators” (the birds that migrate based off the shortening of the day).

The winds blowing straight out of the Prairie Pothole Breeding Region (PPBR) will likely lead to birds showing up throughout the central United States over the weekend—with states like the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska likely seeing the most benefit. Look for bird populations in these areas to increase.

A big thanks to Drake Waterfowl for sponsoring our videos this year!

'22 - '23 Waterfowl Migration Reports

January 24th, 2023

Migration Report:

Cold snap, freeze-frost line moving into Deep South, NNW winds and a new moon. All ingredients for one last major migratory event.

With the season drawing to a close, it would appear Mother Nature is providing us with one last major, country-wide migratory event.

In the week to come, temperatures will drop across the country, and a winter storm is set to hit the central United States—dropping snow from the Texas Panhandle all the way to Pennsylvania and New York State. 

In addition to this snowfall and low temperatures, the freeze-frost line will transition far into the southern states, and a multi-day north-northwest wind is forecasted. All ingredients for a new migration of ducks and geese.

Couple all of the above with the fact that a new moon (no moon) occurs this week—which could knock ducks off of their nocturnal patterns—and we believe opportunities afield are good to end the season!

January 18th, 2023

Migration Report:

Back-and-forth trading “migration-reverse migration” likely to dominate the next week, as temperatures fluctuate with transitory winds.

With the volatile weather going from bitter cold to unseasonably hot, we believe in this migration update, the stage was set (and still is) for weather-dependent back-and-forth trading in the southern portions of the flyways.

For example, at the top of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley two dissimilar waterfowl areas—Ten Mile Pond Conservation Area in Missouri and Ballard County WMA in Kentucky—sit over 30 miles apart and yet recently have shared very similar trends in harvest statistics. At the beginning of the Holiday cold snap, hunter success was good while it lasted, but near-zero temperatures and hard north winds forced many of the ducks in the areas out. However, immediately after a warm spell began and what came to be a week-long south wind set in. During this time, both areas saw slow, steady, yet consistent increases to their hunter success.

Could it be a coincidence? Sure, but we believe this migration report is evidence of that when conditions are right—a warm spell immediately after a harsh cold snap—reverse migrations can occur sending ducks temporarily northward.

January 3rd, 2023

Migration Report:

Major winter storm pushed many birds into central and southern portions of Mississippi Flyway as major rivers freeze over.

The Christmas holiday winter storm saw record lows across much of the country, with areas as far south as Oklahoma and Arkansas seeing sub-zero temperatures. Some areas in the midwest endured these temps for nearly a week.

As expected, many major river systems froze over, or were reduced to ice flows during this time, which had major impacts on the waterfowl populations in these areas. For example, areas in central Missouri lost nearly all of their birds during this time to warmer areas further south, and while its certain some returned with the warming trend, weather events like these make for major migration events as areas in Kentucky and southward all reportedly picked up new birds in higher concentrations.

With rain on the horizon, we believe early January could yield decent hunting success across all four flyways for no reason other than much-needed access to new food sources, and new habitat.

Happy New Year! Stay safe out there.

December 20th, 2022

Migration Report:

Major migratory events likely as upcoming winter storm and sub-zero temperatures likely to send birds even further south.

On the heels of last week’s winter storm, which left a fresh blanket of snow across much of the northern states, a new cold front is moving in bringing with it some of the coldest temperatures in nearly a half-century. States as far south as Oklahoma and Missouri are bracing for sub-zero temperatures. For context, the last time it was this cold in central Missouri, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers froze.

With this in mind, we bring good news to the southern states of the Mississippi Flyway with this migration report, as it is highly likely a large migration event will occur as the concentrations of birds staged along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in Missouri and Illinois face pressure to move further southward.

Before we sign off, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say, stay safe out there friends. With temperatures this low, frostbite and hypothermia are serious threats to the hunting community. Stay safe!

December 13th, 2022

Migration Report:

High potential for migratory events with snowfall expected in northern states, the first cold-snap in nearly a month, and NNW winds.

A large nation-wide winter storm is set to hit this week, with the northern portions of all four flyways expecting major snowfall and the southern states of the Mississippi Flyway expecting some much needed rain.

Following this winter storm, a week-long cold snap is set to settle in, causing prolonged sub-freezing temperatures in areas of major waterfowl concentrations including the Platte River, Missouri River, Illinois River, and the upper extents of the Mississippi River.

With all of this in mind, we believe this migration report is about as good as it gets, and that a large migration event is likely to occur across all four flyways, with the highest potential being for a new push of birds into the southern states of the Mississippi and Central Flyways. But as always, Mother Nature always sets the rules, we just play the game. Good luck everyone! 

December 6th, 20222

Migration Report:

Warm spell and full moon likely to hinder hunting success, but full moons usually allow for nighttime migrations, and new ducks!

With a warm trend on the horizon for much of the central and southern United States, duck hunting could get tough. Plus, a full moon may cause the ducks and geese to turn to nocturnal patterns, making hunting conditions even more challenging.

Fortunately, this migration report isn’t all bad news—a good portion of duck migration and goose migrations occur at night. So while the full moon might hinder local hunting conditions, it could be favorable for migration events. Plus there is supporting winds down the Ohio River into Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois as well as into the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays from New York and Pennsylvania.

Overall, we believe the migration outlook over the next week is below-average, but who knows… Mother Nature always winds up surprising us with a migration report of her own—and hers are the ones that matter!

Past Migration Reports

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