By Joe Healy
Home is where the heart is, so it stands to reason that one of waterfowling’s longtime conservation groups, Delta Waterfowl, will continue looking after a Manitoba, Canada, property that is its historic home—keeping it a base for research programs intended to benefit all waterfowl.
Courtesy of Delta Waterfowl
The new owner of the Manitoba property is a conservationist who has said he will continue the duck hunting organization’s important legacy of waterfowl research. John Childs, a Florida businessman and philanthropist with an affinity for waterfowl, purchased the historic York Lodge property, which includes a large segment of the north shore of Delta Marsh. Previously owned by the heirs of Delta Waterfowl founder James Ford Bell, who bought the parcel in 1926 and soon after started a waterfowl research facility there known as the “Delta Duck Station,” the property features a waterfowl staging area known to host large numbers of canvasbacks during the fall migration. Bell’s love for canvasbacks originally led him to buy the property, and new owner Childs is enamored by canvasbacks as well. Childs has a history of contributing millions of dollars to waterfowl research and conservation, and he is funding the lion’s share of a Delta Waterfowl project that seeks management options to increase canvasback production throughout the parklands of Canada. Acquiring the Delta Marsh property furthers Childs’ goal of helping all ducks.
Delta Waterfowl has headquarters in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. The organization strives to help waterfowlers by using science-based programs to help duck reproduction; conserving duck-breeding habitat; enhancing duck hunting opportunities; and helping carry on the tradition of duck hunting through programs such as First Hunt—a waterfowl-specific hunter-recruitment program—and hunter-retention research.