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.