Blue-Winged Teal on the Move?

Did blue-winged teal get an early start on their migration this year? Kyle Wintersteen investigates.

August is a time when angst builds among ducks as well as duck hunters, albeit for very different reasons. The first hints of autumn trigger in us the desire to dig out the decoys and oil the shotguns, while the ducks begin to dream of Louisiana, the Texas Gulf coast and other major wintering locales.

Adult drake blue-winged teal—the first waterfowl to migrate every year—tend to initiate the migration in mid-August. This year, however, it seems the fall flight is in high gear ahead of schedule. I don't know whether it's the oddly fall-like conditions experienced this summer across some flyways, but I can report seeing dozens of bluewings already making their way to my area in central Pennsylvania. And I've heard reports of solid numbers as far south as Virginia Beach, Va.

In addition to the bluewings, the secret location where I will spend opening day is also covered in less migratory species, including wood ducks and resident mallards. I am more than excited; I am just plain giddy. My friends, we've nearly made it. Dove and early goose seasons are about to open across much of the nation, and soon our favorite time of year will be at hand.

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