The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its preliminary report on mid-continent breeding ducks and habitats, based on surveys conducted in May and early June. Total duck populations were estimated at 42 million breeding ducks on the surveyed area. This estimate represents a 13 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 37.3 million birds and is 25 percent above the 1955-2008 long-term average.
“The increase in duck numbers in relation to the increase in habitat conditions is consistent with what we would expect to see in U.S. and Canadian breeding grounds this spring,” said Ducks Unlimited’s Executive Vice President Don Young. “History has repeatedly shown that when water returns to the breeding grounds ducks respond with a strong breeding effort.”
While numbers are up, DU Chief Biologist Dale Humburg explains that hunter success will still depend heavily on weather, which will dictate migration patterns.
For further details, see the press release posted on the Ducks Unlimited Web site