DUCKS AND GEESE
MULTITUDES of migrating waterfowl are not usually associated with extensive lava formations, such as one encounters at Lava Beds National Monument in northeastern California. The fact that this monument is bordered on the north by the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge explains why the photograph on the opposite page came to be taken in that region.
Early in November 1937, when this photograph was taken, there were literally thousands of geese, such as honkers (Canada), speckle-bellies (white-fronted), and snow, together with many pintail, widgeon, and other species of ducks, which had bred in the far northwestern parts of North America, using Tule Lake as a "city of refuge." They had stopped there on their flight to their wintering grounds in the South. Likewise, in lesser numbers, they stop over on the spring migration to their breeding grounds in the North.
As a reliable means of counting and recording the number of waterfowl present in a given area at one time, I have found it satisfactory to use a speed photograph taken when ducks and geese are suddenly frightened into taking flight. Then, by making an enlargement from the negative thus obtained, it is possible, by ruling the picture off into half-inch squares, to count as many as 5,000 ducks and geese on a single negative. By using this method the errors of estimation are eliminated. It has been my experience that when such comparable photographs are taken at the same locality, at corresponding seasons, over a period of years, they form the most reliable and accurate census method yet devised for recording the numbers of migrating waterfowl which pass through the United States each spring and fall.
The migratory wildfowl in North America do not belong to the people of the United States alone, because many of them breed in Canada and winter in Mexico. A treaty between the United States, Canada, and Mexico provides for international protection of migratory wildfowl. Our Government, through its Fish and Wildlife Service, is doing its share by establishing and maintaining scores of Federal migratory wild fowl refuges, of which Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a good example.
Last Updated: 01-Jul-2010