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2012 Spring Habitat Conditions in Canada 

Posted May 9, 2012
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Ontario 

In March, several records were set for warm temperatures — many not seen since the 1940s. These conditions, coupled with a mild winter, culminated in a record-low snowfall for southern Ontario. April temperatures were close to normal, and significant mid-month precipitation helped recharge many wetlands that were in the process of becoming dryer than usual. The excep-tion was southwest Ontario, which did not receive significant rain events. 

Northern Ontario had an early spring as well, with warmer-than-normal temperatures. Water levels are somewhat lower than usual in many parts of the northeast, although northwest Ontario received above-average precipitation in April, which recharged many wetlands and watercourses. A new rainfall record was set in Sioux Lookout (54.6 mm), surpassing a benchmark that stood since Ducks Unlimited Canada was created in 1938. 

Overall, wetland habitat conditions are good for most of the province (with the exception of southwest Ontario). Sheet water, temporary and ephemeral pairing habitats are much reduced. However, semi-permanent and permanent wetland habitats are just below normal levels thanks to recent rainfall events. Healthy beaver populations have somewhat compensated for lower-than-normal spring water levels. 

Given the early spring habitat conditions, waterfowl migration was 2–3 weeks earlier than usual this year. Canada geese goslings are just starting to appear. Mallards are in their initial peak of nest incubation. They are expected to have a good start for this year's production, as long as brood-rearing habitat can be sustained with timely rainfall events. 

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