Calendar ducks

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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Calendar ducks

Postby aaronrocker » Thu May 03, 2012 7:55 pm

OK, so i read an article on the DU website a long while ago. talking about what weather to look for for duck movements and what not. but then i stumbled across one saying that some Divers dont migrate based on weather fronts and high pressure cells like most others, they migrate at the same time every year, and they called them calendar ducks. what im wondering is if this has any truth to it or not.

Now i know that you can figure when the woodies will be there and when the teal will be gone. and later when the wigeon will be moving in but it roughly changes every year. what they were saying for the "Calendar Ducks" was that you can expect them at almost the same date every year. seems plausible i guess from a puddle duck hunter. figured i would ask the pro's though.

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Re: Calendar ducks

Postby TheSwamper » Fri May 04, 2012 7:36 am

Funny, I always see ring necks in the spring. Late Feb to March is when they show up on the ponds around here.

What's crazy is we don't really get them much here during the season. They must blow by us in the fall but you this area as a stopping point when migrating back north in the spring.
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Re: Calendar ducks

Postby flight control » Fri May 04, 2012 7:38 am

We have a goldeneye/merganser hunt every year on halloween.Doesnt matter what the weather has been like,they always show up here for halloween. I have always found it strange how they show up at the same time every year.

Those are our main divers, we get most of the other species but not in any numbers where I can notice patterns in their migration.

Interesting topic aaronrocker
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Re: Calendar ducks

Postby woodduck31 » Sat May 05, 2012 7:51 pm

I might have entertained that idea before this year. Generally speaking over the past 20 years here things have been pretty consistent as far as timing most years, but so has our weather, until last season.

Usually we will get a run of about a week of ringers on my stretch of river, then it's hit and miss. That generally happened around thanksgiving. Generally speaking, most of the goldeneye showed up in force around the end of December. We usually worked over the wigeon pretty hard in a small spring fed slough starting around thanksgiving until we started seeing a few goldeneye, then we knew there would be decent number on the snake river and move over and start the diver hunting push for the remainder of the season. Things did seem consistent and unrelated to any weather that I was aware of.

This year was unusually warm, we never had any issues with ice which allowed mallards to be anywhere they wanted and not just concentrated on the clubs with flooded grain. We started seeing lots of goldeneye and bufflehead within the first two weeks of season and I thought we were going to be in for a bang up year on divers, but that was not the case. We finally saw our first ringers the 3rd week of January. We never saw any numbers of goldeneye, we usually see 3000-5000 a day flying the river, it's constant, this year a good day would be a few hundred. We actually targeted mallards, something I rarely do, my son limited over 50% of the hunts he went on with mallards. Mallards became the only game in town and they had been here for 60 days by the end of the season. They were in hidden pockets and when you found them, you found them all. The last day of season was the most curious thing we saw, from 300 mallards the week before, we suddenly had mallards by the thousands in our little spot and not only that, specks. We rarely get specklebellies until well after season is over an only on their return north. I'm just guessing the mallards we saw on that last day were returning north.

In january we were still seeing temps north of us in canada in the 40's and 50's. My conclusion is ice and snow still pushes the birds, not necessarily the cold, just the access to food. We virtually had no winter here this year. We are duck hunters and we just make the adjustments to hunt whatever we have available, even if it is mallards.
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Re: Calendar ducks

Postby Rick Hall » Sun May 06, 2012 8:13 am

Don't know about "calendar" ducks, but some are moved by photo period (how long daylight lasts) and others by weather or food availability. Species generally seem weighted toward one or the other, but there's division within most, as well. We think of mallards, for instance, as being moved by conditions, but there's also a smaller photo period contingent that's on hand for our Gulf Coast opener long before those needing pushed down begin to show.

Among the divers, ringnecks are our primary early, photo period motivated arrivals. But you wouldn't want to bet on a date they'll show in force, only that a great many will be early arrivals
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