Spring Breeding Duck Numbers Tallied
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 70th annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 2.95 million birds, down 15 percent from last year.
Migratory game bird supervisor Mike Szymanski said even though the index is below 3 million for the first time since 1994, it still stands 23 percent above the long-term average (1948-2016) and is the 24th highest on record.
“Fortunately, we still have a lot of ducks,” Szymanski said.
Survey results indicate canvasbacks (up 23 percent), pintails (up 5 percent) and redheads (up 2 percent) increased from their 2016 estimates, while shovelers were unchanged. Mallards were fairly stable (down 5 percent), while ruddy ducks showed the largest decrease (down 36 percent). All other ducks were 16-28 percent below last year’s numbers. However, most species, with the exception of pintails, blue-winged teal and ruddy ducks, were well-above the 69-year average.