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DU & UND Nest Cam: Blue-winged Teal Duckling Investigates

This curious blue-winged teal duckling investigates the nest camera that was put by their nest.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Returning from Recess

A hen returns from recess, which is one of two breaks she takes away from the nest each day. During this recess the hen goes to a newby wetland and feeds, which allows her to sit on the nest for extended periods of time.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Ducklings in Nest

In this videos blue-winged teal ducklings in the nest bowl.. The hen has left the nest and is signaling for the ducklings to follow her to water.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Leads Ducklings Away From Nest

After over 30 days of laying and caring for her eggs, this blue-winged teal hen is finally leading her brood off the nest. Together, they might travel several kilometers before reaching a wetland that the hen deems acceptable for rearing her young. While there is still have much to learn about habitat selection for brood-rearing, hens tend to select wetlands with abundant food to help their broods grow strong enough for the fall migration.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Deer Eats Egg

A white-tailed deer eats eggs from a mallard nest. While not typically considered a common nest predator, other camera studies have recorded depredation of songbird nestlings.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Prepares Nest for Recess

Nesting waterfowl are known to take several ‘recesses’ or breaks from incubating their eggs each day. During these recesses they replenish their own energy supply at a nearby wetland. This mallard hen is preparing to leave her nest for a mid-morning recess. She is covering her eggs up with grass to help disguise them from passing predators and aid them in thermoregulation during her absence.

Understanding Waterfowl: The Amazing Egg

For waterfowl, the cycle of life begins anew each year with the eggs that are laid and carefully nurtured by nesting birds on their breeding grounds. An egg consists of three main parts: the yolk, albumen (egg white), and shell. Everything a duckling needs for its development is contained within these three components.

Great response to student research partnership

To increase the number of conservationists and citizens who enjoy and support waterfowl and wetland conservation, Ducks Unlimited partnered with the University of North Dakota (UND) for a student research internship program. Undergraduate students Nick Conrad and John Palarski were sponsored by UND professor Dr. Susan Ellis-Felege and used video surveillance technology to examine nest attendance and defense in blue-winged teal at DU’s Coteau Ranch this summer.

DU/UND interns tie for first place for presentation at international convention

Ducks Unlimited and University of North Dakota (UND) interns brought home the gold in the student poster presentation competition at the annual conference of The Wildlife Society in Winnipeg. John Palarski and Nick Conrad tied for first place presenting the research they gathered this past summer on nesting ducks at DU’s Coteau Ranch near Bismarck.

Life as a nest-cam intern

John Palarski and Nick Conrad’s mornings began this summer at 7:30 a.m. with the loading of their ATVs, just outside their rented lodge in Goodrich, N.D. They packed video cameras, batteries, GPS devices, flags and stakes, a drag chain, egg candler and paper bag lunches. They strapped everything down, flicked yesterday’s ticks from their helmets and with the morning still cool, set off for the Ducks Unlimited Coteau Ranch, where they had been conducting research on duck nesting behaviors.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Duckling on Hen's back

Ducklings bustle around the hen on her nest. A duckling climbs onto her back then tumbles off when the hen turns.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen leads ducklings from nest (2)

A hen leads her ducklings to a nearby wetland. The ducklings tentatively follow, one by one, leaving the nest for the first time.

Nesting Camera Partnership with University of North Dakota

This year, even more video cameras will be bringing people an inside look at duck nests on Ducks Unlimited’s Coteau Ranch, near Bismarck, N.D. In its second year, the collaboration between DU and the University of North Dakota (UND) will include two new UND interns.

Ducks Unlimited partners with UND for nest cam project

Ducks Unlimited has partnered with University of North Dakota to provide biology students experience and school credit through a summer research project at the Coteau Ranch, a 3,000-acre property owned and restored by Ducks Unlimited. The interns monitor blue-winged teal nests via surveillance cameras to study nesting behavior.

Understanding Waterfowl: The Nesting Period

The health of waterfowl populations depends largely on the ability of the birds to successfully nest and hatch broods

Wetland losses point to importance of protecting the prairies

Ducks Unlimited (DU) says a documented drop in wetland numbers in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) during a recent 12-year period could add up to a loss of breeding habitat for 100,000 duck pairs. A new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the status of prairie wetlands in the United States found the PPR lost more than 107,000 wetland basins from 1997 to 2009.

Waterfowl beginning to nest in the prairies

BISMARCK, N.D. – May 09, 2014 – As the breeding season for ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) gets into full swing, the world will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) on Saturday, May 10. On this anniversary of IMBD, Ducks Unlimited says wetland conditions in the continent’s best “Duck Factory” are above average this year, but without sustained efforts to conserve wetland and grassland habitat, the future may not be bright for nesting birds.

Dr. Johann Walker to head DU prairies program

BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 20, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited has named Dr. Johann Walker its director of conservation programs for North and South Dakota and Montana. Walker is recognized as one of the premier waterfowl population ecologists in the country. For the past three years, he has led the science and planning efforts for DU’s Great Plains Region by designing, collecting and analyzing the latest scientific research on waterfowl breeding ecology.

Wetland conditions good for nesting migratory birds

BISMARCK, N.D. – May 10, 2013 – As the breeding season for ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region gets into full swing, the world will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) on Saturday, May 11. As IMBD draws near, Ducks Unlimited says habitat conditions in the continent’s “Duck Factory” are above average.

Habitat Update: Northern Plains Receives More Snow

A late spring storm in North Dakota dropped one to two feet of snow across the state, creating chaos for citizens of the Northern Plains. For most waterfowl, however, the snow is just a temporary setback.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited focus funding to protect vital waterfowl habitat in Prairie Pothole Region

WASHINGTON - March 2, 2012 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited announced today they will work with the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to focus resources on wildlife habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of the northern plains, breeding grounds for a majority of the continent's ducks.

Photo Essay: Spring on the Prairies

A look at what breeding waterfowl will find as they return to the Duck Factory

Photo Essay: Nesting Habitat

Experience the images waterfowl face when they arrive on the prairies this year

DU salutes USDA's support, commitment to conservation on 25th anniversary of CRP

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Dec. 23, 2010 - This year marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program. The Food Security Act of 1985 established the CRP, arguably the greatest landscape-level conservation program ever.

Cleaning and Maintaining Wood Duck Boxes

Tips for keeping your wood duck nesting boxes in good condition season after season

Waterfowl Mating and Nesting

A look at goose nesting habitat in 2010

Canada goose hunters who experienced their fair share of disappointment in the field last season can be more optimistic in 2010.

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.

Duck Nesting Success FAQ's

What is it and what impacts it?

How to Handle "Urban" Ducks

I found a mallard nest on my property. What should I do now?

Conservation in Canada

While great progress has been made in conserving Canadian waterfowl habitats, many challenges lie ahead for DU and its partners.

Life in the Egg

A look at the incubation process and the amazing transformation that occurs within each egg.

Nest Site Selection

Selecting a nest site is an important decision in the annual cycle of ducks. Nest site choice can influence whether the female survives the nesting season and her eggs survive to hatch.

The Incubation Period

For female waterfowl, hatching a nest requires a big investment of time and energy.

New CRP Practice Emphasizes Ducks

New enrollment guidelines will provide valuable nesting habitat, but significant challenges remain.

Prairies Under Siege

Ducks Unlimited scientists provide an in-depth look at the conservation of the Prairie Pothole Region in a comprehensive four-part series.

Prairies Under Siege: The Future of the Prairie Pothole Region

Jim Ringelman explains the actions necessary to keep the Prairie Pothole Region functioning and producing waterfowl for future generations.

Prairies Under Siege: Science and Conservation

Science is the most important factor driving Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation efforts in the Prairie Pothole Region.

Prairies Under Siege: New Threats to Ducks & Waterfowling

The Prairie Pothole Region, an area critical to waterfowl, is currently under attack from several sides, putting nesting habitat at risk.

Prairies Under Siege: Ducks, Habitat Conservation & Predators

Ducks Unlimited scientists explain why DU's focus remains on habitat conservation rather than predator control.

Redhead Hens: The Parasite Queen

Redhead hens are one of the most common duck species to engage in nest parasitism, laying their eggs in the nests of other hens and leaving their young to be reared by them.

If at First You Don't Succed

For breeding hens, producing a brood of ducklings requires perseverance as well as good nesting habitat

Waterfowl Renesting

For many species of ducks, persistence is crucial to reproductive success.

The Cover Connection

Large areas of protected grasslands are essential for waterfowl populations nesting in the Prairie Pothole Region and across the Great Plains.

The Shotgun Approach to Nest Success

Did you ever wonder why some species have a lot of offspring and provide only short-term limited care for their young, while others have few offspring and provide long-term intensive care? These differences in reproductive strategies have been the object of scientific investigation and debate for years.

Parental Care

Early life for young waterfowl can range from surviving in a single-parent family to living a bird’s version of an Ozzie and Harriet-style childhood.

Prairie Pothole Region - More Information

The Prairie Pothole Region, North America's "Duck Factory," provides critical nesting habitat for migrating waterfowl. Read more about the area's history and how it benefits other wildlife species as well.

Biodiversity in the Grassland Biome

Learn about biodiversity, biomes, grasslands and related ecosystems in this article about the declining diversity of grasslands habitats and the impact on waterfowl.

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