Last spring, Delta Waterfowl installed a small video camera mounted to a stake in the ground next to four different duck nests, one at a time, during the breeding season and streamed the feed on the organization's website for the world to watch. As the events unfolded, a pintail hatched seven ducklings, followed by a raccoon destroying a gadwall nest, a successful mallard hatch and finally, a skunk raiding a gadwall's nest.
What will happen this spring on the Delta Duck Cam? Will she or won't she hatch those eggs? That is the question.
Will a raccoon find her tiny grass bowl filled with developing ducklings still warm inside their eggshells? Might a red fox stalk her on the nest and catch the hen as she tries to fly away? Or can she sit undetected for nearly a month, leaving only for a short while to eat and drink each day, and successfully hatch her clutch?
"We're very excited to be bringing back our Duck Cam for the second year," said Joel Brice, Delta Waterfowl vice president of conservation and hunter recruitment. "It gives us the opportunity to once again open a window few folks get to see that is critical to duck production and the birds hunters pursue each fall."
The first star this spring is Blue-Winged Teal 007, named because her nest was the seventh found in the field in north-central North Dakota. She began incubating 12 eggs on May 21, which should hatch around June 12, if a predator doesn't find them first. Technicians will keep close watch on the camera, and move it to a new nest if either event takes place.
The Delta Duck Cam stream will remain live throughout the nesting season, which should carry into mid-July.