BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Migratory Bird Biologists from the State Game and Fish Department report a huge surge in duck numbers during this year’s fall flight.

According to a report from Game and Fish, the 2022 fall flight of ducks is estimated to be about 26% larger than 2021’s fall flight based on observations from the Department’s annual mid-July duck production survey.

According to Department migratory game bird management supervisor Mike Szymanski, the 75th annual breeding survey conducted in May showed an overall index of 3.4 million ducks in the state — the 23rd highest number in the 75 years of surveys and 38% above the long-term state average.

The number of duck broods observed during this year’s July survey was up 36% from numbers in 2021, and 5% above the 1965-2021 overall average. The typical brood size was 7.2 ducklings, up 11% from 2021, with the long-term average resting at 7 ducklings per brood.

After 2021’s crippling drought, weather conditions in May rapidly increased. This resulted in a gigantic 616% increase in the wetlands index, the largest single-year percentage on record.

Despite this, there are concerns that the wetlands are beginning to dry up again. In mid-September, Game and Fish biologists will conduct another survey to assess wetland conditions prior to the waterfowl hunting season.

“Wetland habitat conditions in the state have dried up substantially from a very wet spring and continued to dry through August,” said Szymanski in a press release. “Our September wetland survey will shed some light on just how much we’ve dried up.”

For more information about waterfowl season and duck brood numbers, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website.