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DU’s research crew family

Cindy Anchor, a Pennsylvania native with a degree in fisheries and wildlife biology, just finished her second summer of research with Ducks Unlimited (DU) in the Bakken formation area of the Prairie Pothole Region. One of three crew leaders, her crew frequently and affectionately referred to her as “Mom," as something like a family formed.

DU researchers back in the Bakken for brood survey

The Ducks Unlimited research crew returned to the Bakken area of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) August 3 to start round two of the brood survey. They will revisit 64 study plots with nearly 4,000 wetlands. “In this round we’re targeting later-nesting species,” said DU research scientist Tanner Gue. “The two rounds of brood surveys allow us to assess production of all the most common nesting ducks in the PPR.”

DU Research Update: Techs finish first stage of brood survey

Our crew of 15 started our two-week brood survey July 1 and just finished. This period differs from the pair survey in that we survey two different times during the day. The first is before sunrise until noon, and then we complete our disturbance evaluation. Needing to wait until 4 p.m. to start the second survey of the day, we find creative places to take naps and eat lunch. Tired technicians with wet and worn out feet are capable of taking naps just about anywhere.

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 Research Crew Continues Brood Surveys in North Dakota

The Ducks Unlimited research crew is currently conducting brood surveys on 64 study plots across northwest North Dakota. Each plot is four square miles and encompasses several wetland basins. So far, researchers have visited more than 2,800 wetlands on 46 study plots.

DU research team covering ground with brood survey

The Ducks Unlimited research crew is currently conducting brood surveys on 64 study plots across northwest North Dakota. Each plot is four square miles and encompasses several wetland basins. So far, researchers have visited more than 2,800 wetlands on 46 study plots. By the end of this week, they will have visited nearly 4,000 wetlands and finished all 64 plots.

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.

Science in Action

DU's conservation work is guided by cutting-edge research and high-tech tools

Ducks Unlimited hires summer research technicians to conduct brood survey in the Bakken

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has hired summer research technicians (pictured above) to conduct a brood survey in the Bakken area of the Prairie Pothole Region. Their findings will complement the breeding-pairs survey conducted earlier this summer and help determine the effects of oil development on waterfowl production.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Deer Video-Bombs Nest Cam

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Chick Emerges From Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Bluewing Leaving Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Returns to Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Raptor Attacks Duck on Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

Nesting Camera Partnership with University of North Dakota

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has partnered with University of North Dakota (UND) 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.

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.

Ducks Unlimited studies waterfowl production in PPR area of Bakken oil fields

BISMARCK, N.D., June 4, 2015 - Ducks Unlimited biologists are studying the impact of oil and gas developments on duck production in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) area of the Bakken oil fields. By June 12, biologists will have surveyed duck pairs in 3,000 wetlands on 62 study plots.

PPR Research Crew Update

The team has begun its second round of breeding duck pair surveys. During this round, the researchers are observing breeding pairs of later-nesting species. By the end of this week, they will have surveyed nearly 1,000 wetland basins on about 22 study plots.

Perspective from the Field: Waterfowl Research in the Duck Factory

Thick early morning fog covers the gravel road as we head towards our study plot for the day in Northwest North Dakota. This morning resembles the many mornings I have shared with friends prior to a day of duck hunting, but it is not exactly the same. I am here primarily to bolster my resume as a crew leader on a waterfowl research project for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. But it is so much more than that. I am an important part of a dedicated team of wetland conservationists.

DU Research Team in the Bakken Oil Fields Covering Ground

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.

Ducks Unlimited Bakken Prairie Research Begins

Ducks Unlimited techs have begun surveying duck pairs on wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) area of the Bakken oil field in northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana. The technicians aim to survey breeding pairs on 4,000 wetland basins on 62 study plots this spring.

Understanding Waterfowl: The Nesting Period

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

Ducks Unlimited Research on the Prairies

DU researchers in the Prairie Pothole Region are focusing on how waterfowl adapt to landscape changes, and how these changes may impact breeding and brood rearing success.

Ducks Unlimited continues duck research in the Bakken

Ducks Unlimited, in collaboration with partners, will be conducting a study this summer on whether oil and gas activity in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North Dakota is affecting waterfowl. Nearly one-third of the PPR overlaps with a geological shale formation known as the Bakken, which is currently experiencing rapid rates of oil and gas development. Despite the importance of this area to breeding waterfowl and the rapid infrastructure development, very little research is currently investigating how birds’ productivity rates are responding.

Understanding Waterfowl: Waterfowl Bands and Other Markers

Bagging a banded duck or goose is always cause for celebration, but these coveted trophies also play a vital role in waterfowl management. By John M. Coluccy, Ph.D.

Auburn’s Dr. Gary Hepp honored at 2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards Ceremony

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 13, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2015 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 80th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Omaha, Neb. This year’s recipient in the Research/Technical category is Dr. Gary Hepp, recently retired from Auburn University.

Understanding Waterfowl: Winter Weather and Waterfowl

For much of North America, the winter of 2013-2014 will not soon be forgotten, as it brought record snowfall and the coldest temperatures in at least 20 years to many locations. When duck hunters hear of extreme winter weather, they instinctively focus on how it may impact their hunting success.

State of the Ducks

A closer look at the remarkable diversity of North America's ducks and the status of their populations. Edited by Dale Humburg.

Understanding Waterfowl: Flocking Together

While most waterfowl seek isolation during the breeding season, the birds are often highly gregarious the rest of the year. By John M. Coluccy, Ph.D., and Kassondra Hendricks.

DU Scientist Wins International Canvasback Award

North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) officials recently presented Dr. Frederic (Fritz) Reid, director of conservation programs in DU's Western Region, with an International Canvasback Award in recognition of his lifelong efforts and achievements on behalf of waterfowl habitat conservation.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Time Flies By, and So Do We!

The first report filed by a FWS pilot biologist in 2014 as they prepare to begin the North American Breeding Waterfowl and Ponds Survey.

Understanding Waterfowl: Duck Salad

Judging by the title, you might assume that this column is about how to prepare a healthy duck dinner for your family and friends. But, of course, that is wild game chef Scott Leysath's department. This column is about another type of duck salad—aquatic vegetation, on which many ducks thrive.

Rice Lands Provide Vital Waterfowl Habitat

Each fall, millions of waterfowl migrate from their northern breeding grounds to historical wintering sites in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) and along the Gulf Coast. Although the MAV once consisted largely of bottomland hardwood forests and the Gulf Coast was characterized by tall-grass prairie and shallow ponds, these regions have been transformed by agriculture and urbanization.

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.

DU and University of Delaware Partner in Waterfowl Research

Researchers at Ducks Unlimited and Dr. Chris Williams of the University of Delaware (UDEL) were recently awarded a generous grant from the Black Duck Joint Venture to assess the influence of wintering habitat quality on black duck populations.

Understanding Waterfowl: Tracking the Mallard Migration

Research has provided a wealth of new information about mallard movements and habitat preferences. By Luke Naylor and Andrew Raedeke, Ph.D.

Ducks Unlimited offers breakwater prioritization web application

Ducks Unlimited is pleased to announce the availability of its Breakwater Prioritization Report and Web Mapping Application. The leader in wetlands conservation has developed a decision-support tool to prioritize shoreline protection needs along the Texas mid-coast portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and encourages conservation partners and coastal landowners to utilize the newly available science to most efficiently direct wetlands restoration and protection efforts along the Gulf Coast.

Understanding Waterfowl: Seasonal Wetlands and Breeding Ducks

These small, shallow-flooded basins are vital to waterfowl production on the prairies

Dr. James D. Nichols honored at 2013 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards Ceremony

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – April 1, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2013 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 78th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Arlington, Va., at the Crystal Gateway Hyatt. This year's recipient in the Research/Technical category is Dr. James D. Nichols.

Light Goose Dilemma

Despite increased harvests, populations of these Arctic-nesting geese continue to grow

Duck symposium to convene in Memphis next week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Jan. 25, 2013 - Waterfowl experts will be flocking to Memphis from Jan. 27-31 for the Ecology and Conservation of North American Waterfowl (ECNAW) international symposium. Memphis-based Ducks Unlimited is among the major contributors to this important conference, which aims to synthesize current knowledge of waterfowl and their habitats and help guide future science and conservation efforts.

Understanding Waterfowl: Mallards and Their Relatives

Widely distributed across North America, Asia, and Europe, the mallard is the most abundant duck in the northern hemisphere. Mallards are successful because they are adaptable, which allows them to exploit diverse habitats and resources. Mallards are also one of the most prolific breeders in the waterfowl world. In some cases, hen mallards have been observed making up to six nesting attempts in a single breeding season.

A New Plan for Waterfowl

It was 1985, and the continental duck population had fallen to its lowest level in two decades. Of even greater concern was a change in the historical relationship between wetlands and breeding ducks. Winter snowfall and spring rainfall yielded a 93 percent increase in May ponds from 1980 to1985, but duck numbers decreased by 31 percent during the same period. Up until then, pond and duck numbers had moved more or less in lockstep. It appeared that habitat loss had taken its toll, and biologists had new evidence to back the claim.

Understanding Waterfowl: Story of the Giants

A closer look at the remarkable comeback of the giant Canada goose

Understanding Waterfowl: Drought and Deluge

We can't control the weather, but conserving wetlands and grasslands on the prairies will help ensure the long-term health of duck populations

Understanding Waterfowl: The Blue-Winged Ducks

Northern shovelers and blue-winged and cinnamon teal are among the most closely related of North America's ducks

Research Seeks to Unravel Sea Duck Mystery

The 15 species of waterfowl known as sea ducks constitute 42 percent of all duck species breeding in North America. And yet sea ducks are the least understood of all waterfowl.

UC Davis' Dr. John M. Eadie honored at 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - March 16, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held at the Hilton Atlanta. This year's winner in the Research/Technical category is Dr. John M. Eadie, professor at the University of California, Davis.

Understanding Waterfowl: The Amazing World of Macroinvertebrates

You don't have to journey to a faraway galaxy to see an amazing world inhabited by "brain-jacking" parasites and monsters with extendable lower lips that can reach out and snatch unsuspecting prey.

Understanding Waterfowl: Duck Digestion

Understanding why and when certain foods are good for waterfowl and how they are digested is an interesting and somewhat complex subject.

Conservation: Waterfowl Energy Demands

Food abundance is presumed to directly or indirectly impact the physiological condition, survival, and even reproduction of waterfowl, which ultimately influences the health of their populations. Why?

Scientific Waterfowling

Following are interviews with four preeminent waterfowl researchers. We can learn a lot from these experts, not only about how ducks react to their environment, but also how to apply this knowledge for better hunting success.

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

Secrets to Success

DU has discovered a wealth of new information about what drives duck production on the prairies

DU Supports South Carolina Mottled Duck Project

DU and partners to conduct a study of hen mottled ducks

South Carolina Mottled Duck Research Project

South Carolina Mottled Duck Research Project, conducted by Ducks Unlimited and its partners in SC's Lowcountry region, primarily within the ACE Basin.

West Gulf Coast Mottled Duck Study: Expected Outcomes

Expected outcomes of Ducks Unlimited's West Gulf Coast Mottled Duck Study

West Gulf Coast Mottled Duck Study: Primary Investigators

Primary investigators involved in Ducks Unlimited's West Gulf Coast Mottled Duck Study

West Gulf Coast Mottled Duck Study

Overview of Ducks Unlimited's West Gulf Coast Mottled Duck Study

Florida Mottled Duck Research Project - Methods

Methods and objectives of Ducks Unlimited's Florida Mottled Duck Research Project

GLARO Research: Current Studies

Ongoing research projects in DU's Great Lakes/Atlantic Region

GLARO Research

Research projects and studies performed by Ducks Unlimited staff and partners in the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region

Saving Great Lakes Wetlands

Ducks Unlimited is working to protect vital wetlands in the Great Lakes watershed, a critical area for waterfowl in the Midwest.

Florida Mottled Duck Research Project

Overview of Ducks Unlimited's Florida Mottled Duck Research Project

A Brighter Future for Great Lakes Mallards

Ducks Unlimited researchers explore the needs of mallards in the Great Lakes and the implications they have on DU's conservation strategy.
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