Skip to main content

The 2022 North Dakota Spring Breeding Duck Survey Results Are In With Good News!

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's 75th annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of nearly 3.4 million birds, up 16% from last year.

The 2022 North Dakota Spring Breeding Duck Survey Results Are In With Good News!

Indices for most individual duck species increased from 2021; read on for more details. (Photo By: FloridaStock/Shutterstock.com)

North Dakota Game & Fish Department migratory game bird supervisor Mike Szymanski said the index was the 23rd highest on record and stands 38% above the long-term (1948-2021) average.

Indices for most individual species, with the exception of green-winged teal, gadwall, wigeon and blue-winged teal, increased from 2021. Mallards were up 58% from 2021 and represented the 25th highest count on record. The ruddy duck index increased 157%, shovelers and pintails increased 126% and 108%, respectively, and other increases ranged from 4% for scaup to 69% for canvasbacks. Decreases from the 2021 index were observed for green-winged teal (-42%), gadwall (-36%), wigeon (-10%) and blue-winged teal (-4%). 


“It’s important to note that some of our statewide increases in species counts might not reflect broader-scale population trends, especially for pintails,” Szymanski said. “The abnormally wet conditions in the state are likely holding a higher percentage of breeding pintails than normal. We’re coming off a very dry year that resulted in low reproduction, range-wide, for many species.”


The number of temporary and seasonal wetlands was substantially higher than last year, as figures show the spring water index is up 616%, the largest single year increase on record for the survey. The water index is based on basins with water and does not necessarily represent the amount of water contained in wetlands or the type of wetlands represented. Consistent precipitation and cool weather leading up to the survey left a lot of water on the landscape in ditches and intermittent streams.

Recommended


“Besides being our 75th consecutive survey year, this was an interesting survey, as we’ve gone back and forth between wet and dry conditions over the past couple of years,” Szymanski said. “We actually had our second highest wetland index in the state, which is largely made up of water that’ll dry up fairly quickly. But ponds that are important for brood-rearing habitat have rebounded nicely as well.

“A lot can change between May and hunting season, so we'll get a few more looks from our July brood index and our September wetland count,” he added. “But duck production should be a little bit better this year than it was last year due to a stronger breeding effort. However, we continue to lose grass in upland nesting sites that will diminish reproductive potential for ducks in the state. Despite expected low Canada goose production this year due to the harsh conditions in April, we did have a record number of geese on breeding territories, so hunting opportunities for those birds should be pretty good again this year.”




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Wildfowl Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Wildfowl App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Wildfowl stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Wildfowl subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now