More than half a million ducks confounded weather radar

Meteorological equipment mistook a huge accumulation of waterfowl for a raging fire.

It was reported by the Star Tribune on October 17.

Members of the weather service in Duluth, Minnesota, USA, recorded suspicious activity on the screen of the weather radar and regarded it as a fire in Aitkin County. They contacted the sheriff’s department and the fire department, but they received no emergency information.

They then called Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where the source of the fire was located, according to the radar.

“The sanctuary staff said they were doing a waterfowl survey from about 10 to 11:30 a.m.,” says meteorologist Kevin Huyck. – That coincides with the time we saw the suspicious plume on the radar.”

According to Huyck, the researchers used a hovercraft that rattled 600,000 ducks. The birds stayed in the air until the boat left the lake area, and only then did they land on the water.

“We can only assume one thing: There’s something special about Rice Lake,” Huick continues. In all likelihood, it attracts ducks for something. That’s where the largest aggregations of them have been recorded.”

Weather officials were surprised by the strength and duration of the echo produced by the disturbed waterfowl.

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