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Minnesota waterfowl counts look good

Jul 14, 2019 08:54AM ● By Editor
Breeding numbers of blue-winged teal in Minnesota this spring were 7 percent above the long-term average, with a population of 223,000, which is 17 percent above last year’s estimate. Photo/ Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

From Staff Reports from the Grand Forks Herald - July 14, 2019

Minnesota’s estimated breeding mallard population was 27 percent above the long-term average at 286,000, the Department of Natural Resource reported this week. That’s just 3 percent lower than last year’s estimate of 295,000 mallards, the DNR said.

The DNR has conducted the annual May survey since 1963.

Population counts for most species of ducks that nest in Minnesota generally were favorable during the survey period. The DNR uses the waterfowl survey to estimate the number of breeding ducks or breeding geese that nest in the state rather than simply migrate through.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • The blue-winged teal population was 7 percent above the long-term average with a population of 223,000 this year, which is 17 percent above last year’s estimate.

  • The combined populations of other ducks, such as ring-necked ducks, wood ducks, gadwalls, northern shovelers, canvasbacks and redheads, was 185,000 ducks, down 10 percent from last year but 5 percent above the long-term average.

  • The estimate of total breeding duck abundance (excluding scaup) was 695,000, nearly identical to last year’s estimate of 693,000 ducks and 14 percent above the long-term average.

  • The estimated number of wetlands was 19 percent higher than last year and 23 percent above the long-term average. Wetland numbers can vary greatly based on annual precipitation.

  • This year’s Canada goose population was estimated at 110,000 geese, down 32 percent from last year’s estimate. Despite the decline, gosling production appeared “very good” during annual June banding efforts, the DNR said, so there should be plenty of geese around when fall hunting seasons begin.

The DNR’s annual waterfowl survey covers 40 percent of Minnesota and includes much of the state’s best remaining duck breeding habitat.

To read the original article and see other outdoor notes, follow this link to the Grand Forks Herald website.