Glacial Soils and Waterfowl

In this region of glacial soils, melting snow and rain give rise to temporary, but important, wetland habitat for waterfowl: flooded depressions in farm fields. These ephemeral surface waters form in low places over poorly drained, fine-textured glacial deposits and attract many species of migrating waterfowl, sometimes in large numbers.

In these photos from April 7 the accumulation of surface water over a poorly drained, Fredon Silt Loam soil of glacial origin provides migrating ducks, geese and shorebirds critical habitat for resting and refueling (harvested corn fields are a major attraction for geese, with or without surface water).

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Mixed flock of waterfowl feeding and resting on seasonal ponds in a corn field; mostly Canada and Snow Geese

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Source: “Soil Survey of Madison County, New York” USDA, Soil Conservation Service, in Cooperation with Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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5 thoughts on “Glacial Soils and Waterfowl

  1. So interesting – I never would have thought about harvested corn fields in this way, but I wonder if this happened all the time in my former upstate New York home, which had many corn fields and many geese! I probably just never looked . . .

  2. Great information and photos. No wonder snow geese are doing so well. By the way nice job with getting such good detail in your white. That can be tricky. Looking forward to more springing posts as your part of the country awakens.

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