North Dakota is called the “Duck Factory” of the United States. The numerous wetland areas in our state make for an ideal environment for producing waterfowl. Anyone who has traveled the state has no doubt watched the numerous flocks of geese and listened to their “honks” as they fly gracefully overhead.
North Dakota is strategically located along the “central flyway” for migratory birds. This “Flyway of the Great Plains” extends from northwestern Canada to the southern United States and Mexico.
Duck migration usually starts in early September and lasts well into December. These large concentrations of mallard, pintail, and blue-winged teal are numerous throughout much of North Dakota. Smaller numbers of wood duck, green-winged teal and ring-necked duck can also be found. In fact, more ducks are hatched in North Dakota than anywhere in the United States!
Certain areas of our state have become famous for their annual numbers of waterfowl that pass through the area. One of these areas lies around Kenmare, North Dakota. Kenmare is located along the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge and is also situated between the Upper Souris Refuge and the Lostwood Refuge.
During fall migration, these Refuges host over 400,000 snow geese. Canada geese number from 25,000-30,000 annually in the area. These huge birds will stay into November or until water freezes over.
So what do the residents of the area do with all of these geese that are passing through? Well, in the case of Kenmare, they host the annual GooseFest! During the latter part of October each year, Kenmare is host to the annual hunting festival which falls during the peak migration of snow geese. In fact Kenmare is known as the “Snow Goose Capital of North Dakota!”
The week long celebration includes hunting contests as well as other events hosted by the community. Free feeds at local taverns, family events, entertainment and a world class goose caller are on the program. The Goose Hunter’s Hall of Fame Induction is also scheduled.
This year’s Kenmare GooseFest begins tomorrow and runs through October 27.
By Dave Seifert
North Dakota Tourism, https://www.ndtourism.com/whatdo/events/festival-details.asp
Kenmare Goosefest, http://www.kenmarend.com/