By Tanner Gue, DU biologist
The Ducks Unlimited research crew is currently conducting brood surveys on 64 study plots across northwest North Dakota. Each plot is four square miles and encompasses several wetland basins. So far, researchers have visited more than 2,800 wetlands on 46 study plots. By the end of this week, they will have visited nearly 4,000 wetlands and finished all 64 plots. In this first round, researchers are observing feathered, but flightless, ducklings of early nesting species like mallards, northern pintail, northern shovelers and blue-winged teal.
Although it was a dry spring in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota compared to recent years, late spring rains left wetlands in fair to good condition for hens to rear broods. While the research team has not yet compiled the brood data, they are seeing the results of a strong breeding effort across many of the study plots.
The crew will enter data in the coming weeks. Beginning August 1, they will return to the field to survey the same wetlands for broods of later nesting species. The second survey will be completed around August 15.
Find more information on DU's Research