More ducks than usual breeding in ND

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota wildlife officials estimate slightly fewer ducks in the state than last year but considerably more than usual after a spring survey.

The Game and Fish Department's annual spring breeding duck survey shows an index of more than 4.1 million birds, down 9 percent from last year but up 85 percent from the long-term average.

The agency says the 2011 index is the ninth-highest on record. A big reason is the amount of water in the state. Game and Fish says the spring water index is up 31 percent from last year and more than double the long-term average. It is the second-highest in survey history and the highest since 1999.

On the down side, Game and Fish says nesting cover in North Dakota continues to decline.