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Southern Saskatchewan drought conditions having an impact on baby birds, expert says

The loss of wetlands around Regina is a concern for birds like geese where nesting spots are becoming scarce. Helen Anderson / Viewer Submitted

Southern Saskatchewan is experiencing drought conditions that are having an affect on birds in their natural habitat. Birds such as waterfowl, geese and ducks are having a hard time finding nesting spots around Regina due to sloughs and wetlands drying out.

This is causing fewer baby birds, according to Regina biologist and educator Jared Clarke. When Canadian geese return to Saskatchewan in March, they have a hard time finding nesting spots near the wetlands.

Read more: Precipitation forecast for Saskatchewan no match for drought: expert

“When they arrived back this year, a lot of the sloughs and wetlands around Regina are dry,” said Clarke. “They’re not the right habitat for the geese to nest. We are seeing a decrease of these ducks and geese have moved into the city. Definitely having an impact.”

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Clarke says the concerning part is the overall loss of wetlands around Regina. He adds that producers either till up or drain the wetlands, which permanently removes them off the landscape.

“We’re just seeing more geese in the park or concentrated in areas where there is water,” he said.

“We will probably see a reduction in goose productivity this year and duckling productivity.”

Read more: Soil conditions worsen across Saskatchewan as spring seeding continues

Clarke says the only thing people can do is to protect wetlands from being drained in order to protect the birds in their natural habitat.

“We need better regulations around drainage. So, when are producers able to actually drain, when shouldn’t they drain (and) where they are draining to,” he said.

“Right now, it’s kind of open season on wetlands. We are losing wetlands at an alarming rate.”

Clarke says he would like to see stronger legislation, regulation and enforcement around protecting wetlands as they play a huge and integral role throughout the province.

Click to play video: 'Residents and environmental groups angry as province continues to push through wetlands development' Residents and environmental groups angry as province continues to push through wetlands development
Residents and environmental groups angry as province continues to push through wetlands development – Mar 5, 2021

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