Millions of waterfowl migrate to southerly regions each fall, and though it’s uncertain how they find their way, biologists believe they use the sun, moon and stars as sky maps, follow major landmarks such as rivers and mountains, and even use the force of natural magnetic fields to navigate incredible distances down the continent’s four distinct flyways.

According to the “2017 Waterfowl Breeding and Population Habitat Survey,” habitat conditions in the northern breeding grounds this spring were similar to or improved relative to 2016, and the total estimated population stood at 47.3 million ducks — down slightly from the 48.4 million estimate in 2016, but still well above the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s overall population goal.

Check out the infographic below, which was produced in cooperation with our friends at Cabela’s, before you head into the field this fall. It will give you a better understanding of the routes taken by ducks and geese during their annual migration, as well as the specific species found in the four primary flyways. Good luck this waterfowl season!

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

The Pacific Flyway includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming west of the Continental Divide. Canadian provinces of Yukon, British Columbia and western Alberta.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

Duck Species Composition

Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Redhead, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Scoters, Hooded Merganser, other Mergansers, and other ducks.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHubGoose Species Composition

Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Ross’ Goose, White-fronted Goose, and other geese.

A total of 85,100 hunters spent 463,500 days afield in the Pacific Flyway last year and killed 414,700 geese.

Waterfowl Fact: About 750,000 northern pintail ducks (about 25% of the U.S. population) stage in the Great Salt Lake wetlands area on their way to their wintering grounds in California’s Central Valley, the Texas Gulf Coast and central Mexico.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

The Central Flyway includes Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

Duck Species Composition

Mallard, Mottled Duck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Redhead, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Scoters, Hooded Merganser, other Mergansers, and other ducks.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHubGoose Species Composition

Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Blue Goose, Ross’ Goose, White-fronted Goose, Brant, and other geese.

During the 2016 waterfowl season, 140,300 Central Flyway goose hunters spent 677,200 days afield and killed 912,200 birds.

Waterfowl Fact: The ban on lead (toxic) shot for waterfowl shooting was phased in starting with the 1987-88 hunting season. It became a nationwide regulation in 1991.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

The Mississippi Flyway includes Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHubDuck Species Composition

Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Black Duck, Mallard/Black Duck Hybrid, Mottled Duck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Tea, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Redhead, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Scoters, Hooded Merganser, other Mergansers and other ducks.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

Goose Species Composition

Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Blue Goose, Ross’ Goose, White-fronted Goose, Brant, and other geese.

Waterfowl Fact: The greater scaup is also known as bluebill, and it’s estimated that 75% of its North American population breeds in Alaska.

 

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | ActionHubThe Atlantic Flyway includes Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia & Canadian territory of Nunavut and provinces of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

Duck Species Composition

Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Black Duck, Mallard/Black Duck Hybrid, Mottled Duck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Redhead, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Goldeneyes , Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Eiders, Scoters, Hooded Merganser, and other Mergansers.

Infographic: Waterfowl Flyways in North America | OutdoorHub

Goose Species Composition

Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Blue Goose, Ross’ Goose, White-fronted Goose, Brant, and other geese.

Atlantic Flyway goose hunters, numbering 148,800, killed 754,000 geese last year.

Waterfowl Fact: The long-tailed duck is among the most vocal waterfowl species; flocks can be heard from great distances. Many hunters know this duck by its former (and very disrespectful) name of oldsquaw. Ironically, male long-tailed ducks are the chatty ones.

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest During the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Hunting Seasons”—August 2017 and the “Waterfowl Population Status”-August 2017

Reference Links:

https://flyways.us/sites/default/files/uploads/migratory_bird_hunting_activity_and_harvest_2016-2017_hunting_seasons_estimates.pdf

https://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/surveys-and-data/Population-status/Waterfowl/WaterfowlPopulationStatusReport17.pdf

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