Photo Credit: Pixabay/Written by Matt Spolsky

NATIONAL WEATHER RADAR DETECTS FLOCK OF DUCKS – On Wednesday October 16th, meteorologists for the National Weather Service thought there was a fire near Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge. NWS then called the local sheriff and fire center, but neither had reports of a fire. What the NWS thought was a fire turned out to be 600,000 ducks flying in the air.

This morning we saw a plume on radar that appeared to be a fire. We tracked down the location to the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We contacted someone there and it turned out they were doing a waterfowl survey and they estimated 600,000 ducks were in the air.

Surveyors at the wildlife refuge caused the flock to massive flock to take flight. One meteorologist, Kevin Huyck, said some workers were out conducting a survey on the morning of the duck storm between 10 am and 11:30 am. The ducks spooked and took off causing the NWS fire readings.

The 600,000-duck flock is no surprise to the workers at Rice Lake. Some of the highest duck numbers come from that region. The strange part is the timing of the flock being on the lake. Rice Lake typically gets larger numbers of ducks in the autumn or spring when birds are migrating. It’s still a little early in the season for duck numbers like these.

Established in 1935, the Refuge holds 220 different species of birds on 18,000 acres. With that much land there are so many places humans don’t likely go to where ducks have freedom to land and not be hunted. There are only seven miles of walking trails and 14 miles of “scenic roads” to drive on the 18,000 acres for humans to go when it isn’t hunting season. Rice Lake itself is 4,500 acres and has produced rice for thousands of years. Looking back at the flock of 600,000 ducks now, it’s almost surprising there weren’t more birds in the air that day!

There are plenty of hunting opportunities on Rice Lake, but it is your typical state refuge. Skybusters and new duck hunters galore. If you want a guide to get away from the chaos of state land, there are a few situated near Rice Lake; one is Anchor Inn Resort. Good luck getting some of the 600,000 birds this season!

Looking for more duck news? Check out our other article on North Dakota duck hunts:

If you were able to get on Rice Lake for opener, let us know how your hunt went in the comments below!

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