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Breeding Grounds Surveys: Chasing Shadows

This survey, being the furthest north of the traditional survey area, has its share of unique “bush” individuals. After 30 years of flying the North Country, it is no surprise that my esteemed pilot, Fred Roetker, has met or interacted with 95% of them.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Onwards and Upwards

The parklands have been relatively wet over the last few years and they look decent again this year. Hopefully some good production over the last few years will result in high duck numbers this year.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Alberta Ground Crew Off and Running

The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered on Thursday, May 7th in Medicine Hat, Alberta. It looked like a winter wonderland in the Edmonton area this morning.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Another Journey Begins

After months of preparations, the journey north to Canada started again for me on April 24, 2015. This will be my 28th year of flying aerial surveys in Canada. It is easy to fly north to the incredible waterfowl breeding areas in Canada. However, it is never easy leaving one’s spouse and family back in the states. After flying up to Canada for portions of four decades, this pilot has never gotten used to the separation from family.

Breeding Grounds Survey: A Snapshot of the Canadian Prairies

On May 31, I departed Calgary, Alberta, in the morning, and flew to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to commence another survey. The following photos are a snapshot of the conditions I saw along that route.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Take Home Messages

It is May 25th and the survey is over. One last night in a hotel for me and then Jim Bredy and I part ways. He will head for eastern Canada to start a Canada goose survey. I have a flight to Portland and a reunion with Jessica, Morgan, Jackson, and three dogs.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Heaven on Earth

Joe Sands and I completed the Southern and Central Alberta BPOP survey area yesterday. I feel blessed to have been able to work with this very capable waterfowl man.

Breeding Grounds Survey: The Weather Caught Up To Us

The Alberta ground survey crew has been able to complete stratum 29, 28, and 27 in southern Alberta and have started on stratum 26. Weather has cooperated up until now, allowing our pilot Jim Bredy and observer Joe Sands to stay ahead of us.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Tongue-tied

After some unexpected winter-type weather delayed our survey start, Joe Sands and I finally got under way on May 08. We were greeted with variable habitat conditions in the short-grass prairie area to the south and east of Lethbridge, Alberta, over to the Saskatchewan border.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Holy Hanna!

The Alberta ground survey crew has been able to complete strata 29 and 28 in southern AB and is currently working on stratum 27 out of Hanna. Weather has cooperated, allowing our pilot Jim Bredy and observer Joe Sands to survey each day since they started on May 8th.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Alberta Ground Crew Prepares for the Survey

The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered today (Thursday, May 8th) in Medicine Hat, Alberta. During the drive down from Edmonton we witnessed some good wetland conditions through the parklands. Conditions appeared to improve further south, in the prairies.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Southern Alberta Survey Start Delayed Due to Weather

While some portions of the US are basking in 80 and 90 degree temperatures, it is windy here and the snow is blowing sideways. This type of weather is not conducive to safely flying a low-level waterfowl survey. Temperatures that last week were in the 20° C range (68° F), have given way to sub-freezing temperatures, snow, and freezing fog. This has put the survey on hold, for now.

Migration Alert: Hard Freeze in Prairie Canada Expected, Fall Flight Moves into U.S.

Marshes and potholes on the Canadian prairies are freezing up tight, and as an even stronger cold front pushes across the region this weekend, remaining waterfowl concentrated on deeper waters should also begin to move south.

Preserve Our Prairies Initiative

Conserving North America's highest-priority waterfowl nesting habitat—and the glory of bountiful fall flights—in the face of mounting threats.

Prairie Pothole Region

The Prairie Pothole Region, North America's Duck Factory, is at the heart of Ducks Unlimited's conservation mission. Read more about DU's PPR priority area.

Alberta Grand Slam

Follow the author as he hunts divers, dabblers, geese, and Hungarian partridge on the Canadian prairie

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