Central and eastern North Dakota experienced heavy rain last spring, which has prepared the state for a bumper crop of ducks this spring.
The annual raising birds and wetland survey conducted by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department shows great to excellent conditions for duck breeding.
“We had a lot of snow last winter and ended up with our 7th-highest wetland index, which is a little bit less than last year (2nd highest ever), but still very, very good,” said Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird supervisor for the NDGFD.
A small increase over the breeding population starting in 2022 was predicted for the entire duck population, which was just over 3.4 million. Mallards are down 10 % at 640, 000, while blue-winged turquoise is even slightly lower but is still a robust 925 000 in the state, despite birds being up overall.
The most welcome surprise, according to Szymanski, is a 40 % increase in breeding pintails, bringing their breeding populations in North Dakota back to levels not seen in the state since the 2000s. This is in contrast to the redhead, canvasback, and shoveler population increases that were reported over 2022.
Despite the fact that North Dakota’s habitat conditions were good to outstanding, Szymanski predicted that good duck production would result from heavy rains in important areas in early May.
Canada’s goose population fell by 27 %, but it was at an all-time high in 2022. According to Szymanski, the estimated 297, 000 Canada birds represent a sizable community.
Seasonal wetlands — small, shallow ponds in pastures and crop fields that are crucial for breeding ducks— were widespread in the state’s central and eastern regions, according to Matt Chouinard, waterfowl programs director at Delta WaterfOWl ‘ headquarters in Bismarck, North Dakota.
According to Chouinard,” It feels like problems for nesting birds are a little better this time.” ” I saw a lot of meadows and fields with annual ponds, as well as liquid outside of the cattail rings in semi-permanent wetlands.” Ducklings can prevent predators thanks to the flooded support, and that is where they will go to live.
Chouinard also pointed out that Delta’s Predator Management hunters, who are attempting to boost bird production, are reporting a significant effort to build bird nests this spring.
Any ducks that lose their primary nest this year will have a good chance to renest, according to Chouinard, and it will also help boost brood survival.
A solid breeding time will serve birds to all four flyways this fall in North Dakota, which is a leading condition for duck production.
In the crucial plain pothole region, the annual North Dakota study serves as a significant second index of breeding bird numbers. Although some of the plains in Saskatchewan and Alberta is clean, conditions are generally excellent throughout the PPR.
Over the coming months, it will become clear what kind of tumble journey to anticipate. Data for the 2023 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are being finished and compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Services. In August, the benefits are anticipated to be made public. According to the study, there will be 34.2 million ducks worldwide in 2022.
The Duck Hunters Organization, a renowned protection organization working to raise birds and ensure the future of birds hunting in North America, is known as Delta Wildlife. Observe deltawaterfowl. nonprofit.