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.