Never seen it this bad

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Never seen it this bad

Postby don novicki » Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:53 am

At Presque Isle State park. Hunted this morning and the conditions were pretty decent: snow, cold and a light NW wind but where once there were thousands of birds here at this time now there is virtually nothing. At first light a lot of birds would leave the bay and fly out to the lake, and then trickle back. But not this morning. I'll bet there were no more than 100 birds that left early for the lake and that was it. I had a great view of the whole bay and didn't see any other birds head out to the big water. You could always count on getting your BB's and buff heads but now, for the second year in a row its like the birds just don't come here any more. Could high lake levels affect the diver population or is it something else? IMO it can only be a few things: the migration hasn't started which I find almost impossible to believe, the migration has shifted and now misses us almost entirely, or, there are not as many birds as they say there are. Personally I think the population has collapsed, after the severe drought in Canada, and yes I know we don't get our ducks from the PPH region but some of the arboreal forest birds might have been affected too. Lastly I seem to remember hearing about a magic number of <38,000,000 being the number that closes duck season. I think we are there, and see major changes coming.
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Re: Never seen it this bad

Postby SpinnerMan » Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:37 pm

Zebra mussels have probably shifted things. Last year in Saginaw bay, the numbers of old squaw on the horizon was incredible. The mussels have created a massive forage everywhere for ducks that eat them.

I am just guessing, but I wonder if the warmer winters the last couple years have pushed the zebra mussel population north making it even worse on your end.

The deeper water may also have shifted the ideal feeding grounds. The one trip where we had tons of BB was not very deep.

A lot of them just don't move any further than they have to. Open water and unlimited food.
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Re: Never seen it this bad

Postby don novicki » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:25 pm

Never thought about zebra mussels before you mentioned it. Those dam things are everywhere, however if its true I believe they did some studies on them and they found many had some very harmful toxins in large concentrations. They could sure be a contributing factor.
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Re: Never seen it this bad

Postby SpinnerMan » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:55 pm

When we hunted the other end of Erie a few years ago on Maumee Bay. They had just pulled out the docks. The piles of dead mussels that dropped off the docks from one season in the lake was unbelievable. You could easily have shoveled them.
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