July 1, 2016 - During the last two weeks of June, the Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Region research crew was busy entering the data they collected during the pair survey into an electronic database, where it will be stored for later analyses. This gave the crew members a much needed break from hiking through the prairies.
Recently eight new technicians arrived to help complete the more labor intensive brood surveys. Ducklings are extremely cryptic, so wetland basins are visited two times in a day to help account for low detection rates.
During the first round of the brood survey (July 1-July 15) technicians will encounter mostly blue-winged teal (Anas discors), pintail (Anas acuta) and mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) broods. These are the early nesting species.
After two weeks of early mornings, late evenings, and lots of hiking, technicians will switch over to data entry until August 1.This is the start date for the second round of brood surveys when technicians will expect to see a greater variety of species as well as more ducklings that are nearly ready to fly.
The brood survey represents one of the final stages of waterfowl reproduction observable in the PPR during the breeding season. If ducklings can get through the next few months they will join the fall migration.
More on Ducks Unlimited's prairie research at www.ducks.org/pprresearch