Minnesota breeding waterfowl count shows numbers at or below long-term averages – Grand Forks Herald

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s spring-breeding waterfowl numbers were at or below long-term averages for several species that nest in the state, the Department of Natural Resources reported Monday.

MNR uses data from its spring waterfowl counts to produce population estimates. The 2022 breeding population estimates are:

  • Mallards: 231,000, 19% lower than the 2019 estimate and unchanged from the long-term average.
  • Blue-winged teal: 161,000, 28% lower than the 2019 estimate and 24% lower than the long-term average.
  • Other ducks, excluding scaups (such as ringnecks, wood ducks, gadwalls, shovelers, hoaxes, redheads and buffleheads): 175,000, which is 6% lower than the 2019 estimate and 3% lower than the long-term average.
  • Total abundance of breeding ducks (excluding scaup): 567,000, 18% lower than the 2019 estimate and 9% lower than the long-term average.
  • Canada Geese: 115,000, which is similar to the 2019 estimate and 27% below the long-term average.
  • trumpeter swans: 25,000, which is a new record for the population. Survey methods for swans differ and a long-term average is not available.

Overall it was a very late spring statewide, especially up north. It is likely that some blue-winged teal, a species that migrates relatively late in the spring, were still in southern Minnesota when the survey began. Due to late spring, nesting effort and the number of young produced are expected to be below average for ducks and Canada geese.

The start of the Minnesota Teal season opens on Saturday, September 3 and continues through Wednesday, September 7. The start of the Canada goose season opens on Saturday September 3 and continues until Sunday September 18. The state’s youth waterfowl hunt is Saturday, September 7, 10 and Sunday, September 11, and the regular waterfowl season opens Saturday, September 24.