By Tanner Gue, DU biologist
The DU research team looking at waterfowl productivity in the oil patch portion of the Prairie Pothole Region is now about halfway done with the first round of its pair survey. They have surveyed about 1,500 wetland basins on 30 four-square mile study plots. When the first phase of the study ends on May 20, they will have visited about 64 study plots and 3,000 basins. Each of the seven research technicians can survey about 30 basins a day. The second round of the study will begin May 21 when they will revisit the same wetlands, targeting later nesting species.
The group is not studying nesting, but has seen a number of mallard and pintail nests, two species that have been nesting since late April and early May in North Dakota. They are also starting to see a few blue-winged teal nests, a species that begins nesting a little later than mallards and pintails. Technician Nick Bakner also saw four moose last Thursday, bringing the crew's total moose count up to nearly a dozen in just a few short weeks.
The brood survey will begin about July 1.
Learn more about this study.