Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey

Coordinated statewide surveys of Conservation Area wetlands and National Wildlife Refuges are conducted approximately every other week during the waterfowl season. They are normally conducted on Mondays, weather permitting, and reported on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Comments of: 2017-01-11

Compiled by Frank Nelson
According to Pat Guinan, state climatologist, 2016 was the 3rd warmest year on record for Missouri, only to be beat out by a sultry 2012 and toasty 1921. This was evident over the past waterfowl season by the abnormally warm temperatures we experienced between September through November. Winter weather and icy temperatures finally arrived in December and when it did, shallow water habitats froze up quick. Temperatures moderated, resulting in a Christmas week that that surged 8-10 degrees above normal temperatures.

As we've headed into the New Year temperatures have fluctuated wildly back and forth. On New Year's Day much of the state reached the high 40's or 50's. Yet, another cold front pushed through on January 5th causing temperatures to plummet into single digits across the state. Across the state snowfall fell amounting to a trace on up to several inches of the white stuff. The shallow water habitats that had temporarily thawed out in southern parts of Missouri became locked back up with several inches of ice. Frozen conditions were more persistent in the northern half of the state amid the warmer temperature swings. In the last 24 hours the roller coaster of weather has continued, as strong southerly winds ushered in a little rain and another warm air mass.

Along with this pattern of freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw we've seen a continued decline of waterfowl across many of the areas. There are a few publicly managed wetland areas that are still holding concentrations of ducks; however, even the cold hardy mallard has seen a decline in abundance as we've headed into the New Year. Over the last 5 years we've had a statewide total of ducks as low as 184,431 ducks and as high as 658,066 during the beginning January. Currently, the state wide total number of ducks on publicly managed wetland areas is 357,325.

This post will wrap up the 2015-2016 Missouri waterfowl and habitat survey. The coordinated surveys on publicly managed wetland areas don't always capture the abundance of geese at this time of year. Scouting, watching the weather, and keeping your eyes to the sky is the best option as we close out this fall's season. As always, good luck, be safe, and have fun.

The South Zone remains open through January 22nd. Canada, White-fronts, and Snow Goose seasons extend beyond that to February 6th.

More information about habitat conditions and hunting prospects:

Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey
Northcentral Region
Area Survey Date Ducks Species Composition Canada Geese Snow Geese Other
Eagle Bluffs CA * 01/09/2017 20 18 Mallards,
1 Mixed divers,
1 Shovelers
12 0 10 Bald Eagles,
6 Great Blue Herons
Fountain Grove CA * 12/26/2016 30625 150 Gadwalls,
30000 Mallards,
25 Pintails,
250 Ring-Necked ducks,
100 Shovelers,
50 Teal,
50 Wigeon
1500 6000 25 Bald Eagles,
20 Trumpeter Swans,
1000 White Fronted Geese
Grand Pass CA * 01/09/2017 185000 183150 Mallards,
1850 Mixed dabblers
0 80000 300 Bald Eagles,
25 Unidentified Swans
Swan Lake NWR * 01/05/2017 158 158 Mallards 395 0 3 Bald Eagles,
131 Trumpeter Swans
Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey
Northeast Region
Area Survey Date Ducks Species Composition Canada Geese Snow Geese Other
BK Leach CA * 01/09/2017 0 0 0 4 Bald Eagles,
1 Great Blue Herons
Clarence Cannon NWR * 01/11/2017 0 170 260 9 White Fronted Geese
Columbia Bottom CA * 01/10/2017 1400 1200 Mallards,
200 Mixed dabblers
140 1 1 Bald Eagles,
85 Trumpeter Swans
Marais Temps Clair CA * 01/10/2017 83 21 Gadwalls,
38 Mallards,
8 Shovelers,
16 Teal
0 0 2 Bald Eagles
Ted Shanks CA * 01/09/2017 0 0 0
Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey
Northwest Region
Area Survey Date Ducks Species Composition Canada Geese Snow Geese Other
Bob Brown CA * 01/09/2017 56 55 Mallards,
1 Mixed divers
0 0 5 Bald Eagles
Nodaway Valley CA * 01/09/2017 0 0 0 2 Bald Eagles
Squaw Creek NWR * 01/03/2017 6027 5887 Mallards,
80 Mixed divers,
4 Ring-Necked ducks,
56 Teal
197 330 180 White Fronted Geese
Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey
Southeast Region
Area Survey Date Ducks Species Composition Canada Geese Snow Geese Other
Coon Island CA * 01/09/2017 120 120 Mallards 0 0
Duck Creek CA * 01/09/2017 3211 1450 Gadwalls,
1400 Mallards,
4 Mixed divers,
1 Pintails,
244 Ring-Necked ducks,
112 Shovelers
136 4800 10 Bald Eagles,
1300 White Fronted Geese
Little River CA * 01/04/2017 2000 500 Mallards,
500 Mixed divers,
1000 Shovelers
0 0
Mingo NWR * 01/06/2017 11927 2293 Gadwalls,
6910 Mallards,
387 Mixed dabblers,
113 Mixed divers,
94 Pintails,
1134 Ring-Necked ducks,
923 Shovelers,
73 Wigeon
479 0 33 Bald Eagles,
40 Coots,
16 Trumpeter Swans,
310 White Fronted Geese
Otter Slough CA * 01/09/2017 10250 2500 Gadwalls,
3500 Mallards,
1000 Mixed divers,
1000 Shovelers,
2000 Teal,
250 Wigeon
135 33000 15 Bald Eagles,
350 Coots,
1500 White Fronted Geese
Ten Mile Pond CA * 01/09/2017 76260 1200 Gadwalls,
64000 Mallards,
10 Mixed dabblers,
3500 Pintails,
2500 Shovelers,
5000 Teal,
50 Wigeon
0 125000 60 Bald Eagles,
10000 White Fronted Geese
Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey
Southwest Region
Area Survey Date Ducks Species Composition Canada Geese Snow Geese Other
Four Rivers CA * 01/10/2017 4236 4200 Mallards,
2 Mixed divers,
24 Pintails,
10 Shovelers
111 0 6 Bald Eagles,
7 White Fronted Geese
Montrose CA * 01/09/2017 38370 400 Gadwalls,
36000 Mallards,
1670 Mixed divers,
300 Ring-Necked ducks
5200 38000 11 Bald Eagles,
56 Pelicans
Schell-Osage CA * 01/03/2017 18207 100 Gadwalls,
15000 Mallards,
42 Mixed divers,
1000 Mixed ducks,
300 Pintails,
1500 Ring-Necked ducks,
50 Shovelers,
200 Teal,
15 Wigeon
400 3000 31 Bald Eagles,
25 White Fronted Geese
Settles Ford CA * 01/09/2017 0 0 0

* Designates Ground Count