The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 26,360 Canada geese in the state, down from a record 222,890 in 2016.
Andy Dinges, migratory game bird biologist, said above average snow fall and below average temperatures that began in late November continued up until the survey, which created poor wintering conditions for Canada geese and mallards.
“We saw a significant drop in the number of birds that wintered in the state, but that’s because wintering conditions were excellent last year, as little snow accumulation and moderate temperatures allowed birds to remain,” Dinges said.
An estimated 23,100 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 700 were scattered on Nelson Lake in Oliver County. Lake Sakakawea had nearly 500 on the lake itself. Dinges said after summarizing the numbers, an additional 3,160 mallards were tallied statewide.
The 10-year average (2008-17) for the midwinter survey in North Dakota is 95,410 Canada geese and 27,310 mallards.