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Credit: Painting by David Hagerbaumer, photo forwarded by Illinois Natural History Survery

Remembering/hoping and mallards in Illinois: Aaron Yetter’s blog

SHARE Remembering/hoping and mallards in Illinois: Aaron Yetter’s blog
SHARE Remembering/hoping and mallards in Illinois: Aaron Yetter’s blog

Aaron Yetter sent along the painting, by David Hagerbaumer of Quincy, (above) of the “Armistice Day Storm” on Nov. 11, 1940 with his blog on the aerial waterfowl surveys. I love the painting.

That day fascinates me. The winds and blizzard conditions in some areas caused death among duck hunters in the upper Midwest, but it also wrecked havoc on the Great Lakes and even bizarre damage in Chicago. Some years ago, a buddy and I had even talked about trying to do a book about it before the old duck hunters passed on. But we have not.

There are still people around who remember surviving the storm in 1940.

Armistice Day or Veteran’s Day used to be the peak of duck migration through Illinois. Climate change has altered that, pushed it later. This year is no exception as you will see in Yetter’s blog.

However, as Yetter notes, reports a day or so after his flight showed some fresh birds arriving. Jeff Lampe of Heartland Outdoors noted such in his post from Wednesday.

As I always note, the surveys are interesting in themselves and as are Yetter’s thoughts in his follow-up blogs with interesting reflections and assessments.

Click here for much information about the aerial surveys and, more importantly, about the Stephen A. Forbes Biological Station, located along the Illinois River on Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge near Havana. Established in 1894, “it is the oldest inland field station in North America and one of nine field stations of the Illinois Natural History Survey. The Frank C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center is housed at the Forbes Biological Station.”

Here is Yetter’s blog for the week:

November 10th, 2016 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog The weather was perfect for a waterfowl survey on Monday, November 7th. We estimated 213,465 total ducks in the Illinois River valley (IRV) which was up 7% from the previous week; however, do to above average temperatures across the Midwest, we are running well below average (41% low) for the second week of November. The central Mississippi River valley (CMRV; 253,375 ducks) is doing much better in relation to the 10-yr average (4% low), and duck abundance was up 28% from the previous week. However, this increase was likely due to the middle zone duck season opener in Missouri on November 5th. Ducks were dispersed around the duck clubs in St. Charles County prior to opening day and were forced into the refuges after the season started. The current weather pattern is at least part of the problem with our duck numbers along both rivers. The species distribution usually starts to change by the second week of November when we shift from the non-mallard dabblers (northern pintail, gadwall, American wigeon, American green-winged teal, and northern shoveler) to mallards. In fact, our mallard numbers this week were 67% and 38% below average along the IRV and CMRV, respectively. In many years, Veteran’s Day weekend brings some gusty winds and colder temperatures, and this year’s forecast may bring some north winds and freezing lows. Some of you might even remember the Armistice Day blizzard on November 11, 1940. We could sure use some ducky weather, but we don’t need a repeat of 1940. Since my flight, I have heard reports of new migrants along both rivers. Migrant mallards and some snow geese were noticed in the Louisiana, MO, area earlier in the week, and I am hearing more gunshots this morning from my office as I write this blog. Good luck hunting and enjoy the Veteran’s Day Holiday. To all the active duty military and veterans out there, Thank You for your service! For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at www.bellrose.org. Stay tuned for more updates next week……. This painting by David Hagerbaumer from Quincy, IL, depicts the blizzard and the duck hunting on that fateful day, November 11, 1940, when many duck hunters lost their lives. If you have never heard the story, you should Google it, or better yet, ask an elderly hunter to recount the memories from that day.


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