Ducks Unlimited technicians have completed two rounds of brood surveys in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Bakken oil field. The technicians have been compiling the data from this second year of research on pairs and broods in this area.
The first round of brood surveys showed many blue-winged teal and mallard broods and a few northern shoveler and wigeon broods. This year’s dry conditions in the Missouri Coteau of North Dakota mean many of the smaller basins are dry, leaving only the larger basins with water.
When the smaller wetlands go dry, it gives them a chance to restart their natural vegetation cycle. It is crucial that these seasonal wetlands dry up periodically to reboot their productivity, increasing the abundance of small aquatic invertebrates, which are an important protein source for nesting hens.
Results from the second round of the brood survey may show more diversity because of the species, such as gadwall and lesser scaup that show up later to the breeding grounds. This can make the technician’s job tougher with more diversity of species to observe and write down.
For more information about the Bakken research go to www.ducks.org/pprresearch.