When does waterfowl migration from Canada to the United States generally begin?

Important Notice:

Flyways.us will be shutting down on January 2, 2019. However, most of the content found here will now be available on the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program website.

In general, most waterfowl that breed in Canada move to staging areas in August. Staging areas tend to be fairly large water bodies with abundant food where waterfowl can safely molt and/or feed in preparation for migration. Staging areas are where a lot of preseason banding takes place, including the activities of our Western Canada Cooperative Banding Program. You can view some reports and pictures from our banding crews.

The timing of migration varies from year to year, but waterfowl begin moving into and through mid-latitudes in the US in earnest during the latter half of September. An exception are blue-winged teal, which migrate in late August and early September, with most wintering outside the US. Thus, teal seasons are held in early September to provide hunting opportunity on this species. Similarly, goose seasons targeting resident Canada geese are set for early September to allow opportunity on often over-abundant resident populations prior to the arrival of migratory goose populations.

Again, it's weather and species-dependent, but in general, ducks are beginning to move into southern states in good numbers by late October-early November.