HENNEPIN — Spring surveys found large numbers of migrating waterfowl, particularly diving ducks, at the Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes.
The survey showed 14.4 percent of all diving ducks recorded in April at 60 sites in the Illinois River Valley were at Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.
For lesser scaup, 21 percent — one of every five —were at the Dixon Refuge. Of all canvasbacks, 42 percent were visiting the Dixon Refuge.
The aerial surveys were conducted by the Illinois Natural History Survey. Due to a cold March, Hennepin and Hopper lakes were frozen for the earliest survey and no ducks were present.
Breeding and summering waterfowl and shorebirds can now be seen at the Dixon Refuge including American White Pelicans and black-necked stilts, a shorebird usually found farther south and west.
The Dixon Refuge is managed by The Wetlands Initiative.