BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says there are fewer ducks and geese around this winter than in the past few years.

The agency says an annual midwinter waterfowl survey early this month indicated about 71,500 birds were in the state, down from 159,000 last year and a record 279,000 in 2012.

Migratory game bird biologist Mike Szymanski (shuh-MAN'-skee) cites colder-than-normal conditions leading up to the survey as the reason for the drop.

Szymanski says about 52,700 Canada geese and 18,700 mallards were tallied statewide. He says that's a surprisingly large number given the harsh winter.