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Weather Impacts Bird Migration

September 30, 2012, 5:33 PM by Ben Cathey

Weather Impacts Bird Migration

You hear them wherever you go, whether it's in the city or in the wide open spaces of KELOLAND, birds are heading south and they want a tailwind. 

They're currently getting that tailwind with a low pressure system north of the Great Lakes. That draws light winds heading south into KELOLAND. Migrating geese and ducks that called the Canadian prairie home also use this quiet and clear pattern as a chance to move south. 

But cold fronts early next week will create turbulence and southerly winds which will hit the birds in flight head on. As a result, we could see events called fallouts, where thousands of tired birds take a rest in grasslands and parks. Though we see high numbers of Canada Goose and sparrows for most of the year, sightings of birds like robins, wrens and warblers tend to decrease this time of year.

This migration also coincides with hunting seasons. Sage Grouse season ended Thursday and pheasant season opens on October 20 (Sharptail Grouse season also continues).  Birds favoring marshy areas could be flushed out to other spots. But for bird-watching, Fort Pierre National Grassland and river valleys are still promising.

The drought could push waterfowl away from KELOLAND.  These birds prefer wetlands and higher water for nesting.  Although earlier duck were very high, that was caused by flooding in previous years. 

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