Duck numbers up in U.S., Canada

Duck populations have increased in overall abundance over last year, and their habitat conditions have improved, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 2014 report.

These conclusions are based on the 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service.

The preliminary estimate for the total duck population is 49.2 million birds, an 8 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and 43 percent above the long-term average.

The report also provides abundance estimates for individual duck species, including mallard, blue-winged teal, northern pintail, American wigeon, lesser and greater scaup and canvasback, all of which are similar to or slightly above last years’ totals.

Habitat conditions assessed during the survey were mostly improved or similar to last year as a result of average to above-average annual precipitation. The total pond estimate (prairie Canada and U.S. combined) was 7.2 million ponds, 40 percent above the long-term average.

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