Waterfowl Breeding Habitat Conditions As of May 31, 2024

Conditions for breeding ducks improved dramatically throughout May, which bodes better for duck production during this critical period for renesting and brood rearing. In fact, while our map illustrates a considerable jump in duck-producing wetlands, conditions further improved after our data collection deadline—torrential rains in early June soaked huge swaths of the prairie pothole region essential to duck production, including the Dakotas and prairie Canada.

The enhanced breeding conditions are especially evident in the extremely important breeding areas of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and eastern North Dakota. Northeast Minnesota, Montana, and Alberta also received considerable, much-needed moisture.

However, despite these improvements, sizable chunks of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and other areas of the PPR remain in fair shape and would certainly benefit from last-minute rains.

The Great Lakes region has improved upon its already-promising conditions, too, with southwestern Ontario getting a few shots of rain, and a huge improvement across the drought-affected portions of central Wisconsin, eastern Michigan, Iowa, and southeastern Minnesota.

In the Atlantic Flyway, conditions remain good to excellent throughout nearly all of the eastern survey area, which should help black ducks and eastern-breeding mallards.

In the Pacific Flyway, California is still in fantastic shape to make mallards. And Alaska’s river deltas, including the critical Yukon region, continue to offer excellent conditions for pintails and other breeding ducks. —Mike Buxton