Video: Badger Raids Duck Nest

Delta Waterfowl has planted several cameras at waterfowl nests this spring, and the latest video will both wow you and break your heart.

Check out this badger raiding a blue-winged teal nest:

Such raids can have a big impact on the annual variation in waterfowl populations. According to one study, nest success alone is responsible for 43-percent of the year-to-year fluctuations. The biggest duck egg-eaters include skunks, raccoons and red foxes.

However, you might say the biggest predation threat to waterfowl is poor habitat. According to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service study, ducks require a landscape of at least 40-percent prairie grass: Above that threshold, they add ducklings to the population; below it, the majority of ducks succumb to predation.

Fortunately once the eggs hatch, the odds increase greatly that the ducklings will reach adulthood. Duckling mortality accounts for just 14-percent of the annual variation in duck populations.

I also recommend checking out the Delta Duck Cam, a live feed of a hen pintail on her nest. Really neat idea, and it may even help ward off your early summer duck depression. Let’s just hope a badger doesn’t show.

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