A long winter and late spring meant a slow start to the breeding season. However, recent warm weather and moisture have stimulated a strong breeding effort. Ducks are nesting.
Habitat conditions are good overall, but the production outlook is average at this time given the late spring. The results from the 2014 Breeding Population Survey will provide more insight when they are released in July. In the meantime, the following observations were made by survey biologist Jim Bredy on May 31:
"The aspen parkland region between Red Deer and Edmonton had variable wetland conditions. While some areas were good to excellent, other areas had fair conditions. However, there were good numbers of birds on those ponds that were present. Several years of good hatches and lower-than-normal harvest have contributed to good numbers of birds returning to Southern and Central Alberta this year. I believe that overall production will be good in the Southern Alberta
strata between Edmonton and the US border.
As we progressed further north into Central Alberta, we [noticed that] wetland and habitat conditions were not optimal, where many basins had lowered water levels. The central portion of the agricultural belt of "The Peace" country (between Grande Prairie and Peace River, Alberta) had some of the driest wetland basins, and poorest upland habitat conditions, in this survey area this year. Many of the semi-permanent wetlands (such as those in the prairie pothole region) were dry, or had extremely low water levels. With that being said, there are still some decent wetland basins in this area. I believe that waterfowl production will be fair in "The Peace" country this year."