Breeding duck population drops in North Dakota
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ North Dakota wildlife officials say the state's population of breeding ducks appears healthy despite a drop in size from last year.
The Game and Fish Department says its annual spring breeding duck survey indicated a population of about 3.9 million birds, down 17 percent from last year but 73 percent above the long-term average.
Waterfowl biologist Mike Szymanski (shuh-MAN'-skee) says duck numbers this year are similar to estimates over the past decade.
He says the reason for the over-the-year decline appears to be that small wetlands weren't holding much water and large wetlands were still frozen when ducks were migrating north. He says that likely resulted in the state losing ducks to Canadian nesting grounds.
A July brood survey will provide insight into duck production and expectations for fall hunting.