Duck population holds largely steady in 2016

Despite drier weather and generally poorer habitat conditions this spring compared to last, overall duck numbers remained steady and well above the long-term average. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2016 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations report, total populations are estimated to be about 48.4 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area. The estimate is almost 1 million ducks lower than last year, but 38 percent above the 1955-2015 average. Scott Yaich, Chief Scientist for Ducks Unlimited, a TWS Leading Sponsor, says it is also worth noting that heavy June and July rains significantly improved habitat conditions after the surveys were completed. The improved wetland habitat quality “could benefit brood rearing and the success of late nesting species, as well as give a boost to overall production through re-nesting by early nesting species,” Yaich said.

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Header Image: ©Stephen Kersting