2013 duck index is down
North Dakota's 2013 fall duck flight is expected to be down significantly from last year, but still similar to the good fall flights of 2007-11.
Mike Johnson, game management section leader for the State Game and Fish Department, said the fall flight estimate is a combination of the spring breeding duck survey and the summer brood survey.
Results from the breeding duck survey in May indicated the duck index was down 17 percent from 2012, but still exceeded the long-term average by 73 percent.
May water conditions were up 17 percent from 2012 and 12 percent above the long-term average.
The mid-July waterfowl production survey indicated a duck brood index that was down 48 percent from 2012, but still 27 percent above the long-term average. Average brood size was 7.2 ducklings, up 0.3 from last year. The long‑term average is 7.1 ducklings per brood.
The water index in mid-July was up 60 percent from last year and 67 percent above the long-term average.
The index does not count every water body or duckling in the state. Instead, biologists sample representative transects across the state each year. Over time, survey results provide biologists with trend information that allows annual comparisons of waterfowl production in the state.