Waterfowl are in abundance across much of North America in winter. They are looking for mates so are in their prime plumage, making for great sightings. As long as the bodies of water in your area are not completely frozen over, you are likely to find ducks near you!
But there are some places that have a higher incidence of unusual waterfowl or ducks in great numbers. Take a look at these well-known spots to view waterfowl and see if any are near you. All are worth a visit.
The Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico is an excellent place to see huge numbers of ducks in winter. The seasonal wetlands provide food and habitat for hundreds of thousands of ducks. You will find the greatest number of birds at the refuge from November through February. Pre-dawn and the early evening provide the best numbers of ducks coming and going from the water to forage and roost. There is an auto-driving loop and many trails to hike for a day of family fun with thousands of ducks of many varieties. Some ducks you may find there include Northern pintails, American wigeons, Canvasbacks and Hooded mergansers.
The White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas also has vast numbers of wintering waterfowl. The refuge sits along the Mississippi Flyway and holds the largest concentration of wintering mallard ducks. The habitat here is a paradise for overwintering ducks. The beautiful, naturally flooded hardwood forests provide abundant food and habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. Thousands of Snow geese can also be found here in the winter. You may also have excellent views of Gadwalls, Wood ducks and White-fronted geese.
Montauk Point on New York’s Long Island is a great spot to see waterfowl of all types. This time of year, eiders, scoters, Greater scaup, American black ducks, Bufflehead, mergansers,Common goldeneye, loons and diving ducks of all sorts are readily seen here. Although not in the extraordinary numbers you might find in some other locations, this far eastern part of NY state is a reliable spot to find waterfowl and often has surprise pelagic visitors due to its position jutting into the Atlantic. Montauk Point is a great place not far from NYC to find all sorts of waterfowl and practice your ID skills.
Simply knowing where to look in January is a great start to a large year list. Bundle up and look for open water and the beautiful waterfowl on it!