Waterfowl Report: California

Ducks Unlimited WF360 California Migration Editor Peter Ottesen gives his latest update on how the 2019−2020 waterfowl season has started so far. The consensus? Bird numbers are all over the map in the early going.

At the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, supervisory biologist Michael D’Errico says flood-up has proceeded nicely at Sacramento, Colusa and Delevan refuges. Sutter NWR opened on time with limited hunting opportunities. 

D’Errico expects white-fronted goose number to jump “tremendously” on the complex as the season progresses. Ducks are also starting to show up in increasing numbers. “There are plenty of pintails, gadwalls, and shovelers. We even logged our first green-wing teal sighting on Oct. 7—another good sign the birds are on the move early,” he reports. 


In Merced County, refuge manager Sean Allen says early water at Volta Wildlife Area and the Gadwall Unit of North Grasslands Wildlife Area attracted large numbers of early ducks. “There were robust numbers of ducks in August and September,” Allen says. “Green-winged teal and shovelers are really thick.” 

Click here to read Peter’s full report.