FWS Releases 2009 Waterfowl Survey
It's amazing what a little water will do.
July 08, 2009
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its 2009 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. I'm a total geek for ducks, but I find this year's numbers especially fascinating for several reasons. Among them:
- The pond count—critical to duck survival and brood production—is up 45 percent over drought-stricken 2008's estimate. It's amazing what a little water will do; duck numbers are up almost across the board.
- The total breeding duck population increased to 42 million, up 13 percent over last year's estimate of 37.3 million and 25 percent above the long-term average.
- Mallards are up 10 percent over 2008, which is pretty significant considering that amounts to nearly 1 million ducks.
- For the first time ever, more ducks nested in the U.S. (14 million) than in Canada (12.5 million). "That's sobering news for prairie Canada, which continues to experience sub-par duck production, but exciting news for the U.S., where nest success has been excellent because of an abundance of grass and a scarcity of red fox," said Dr. Frank Rohwer, scientific director for Delta Waterfowl, in a press release.
- Canvasbacks (+35 percent), northern shovelers (+25 percent) and pintails (+23 percent) are up significantly over 2008's estimates. It's the first time pintails have increased since 2006, a reason for optimism, but they're still 20-percent below the long-term average.
- The only species to show declines were redheads and wigeon, both down one percent compared to 2008.
For more, check out what Delta Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited have to say.