Archive for July, 2013

Duck Numbers Down Slightly for the Coming Season, Still Well Above Long Term Average

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that duck numbers were down slightly over last year’s duck count but the numbers were still well above the long-term average. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site reported:

“Duck populations are strong, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2013 Report on Trends in Duck Breeding Populations. The preliminary estimate of total duck populations from the traditional survey area (north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska) is 45.6 million birds. This estimate represents a 6 percent decrease from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million birds but is still 33 percent above the long-term average. The total duck estimate excludes scoters, eiders, long-tailed ducks, mergansers and wood ducks.

The report also notes:

Estimated mallard abundance is 10.4 million birds, similar to the 2012 estimate of 10.6 million birds and 36 percent above the long-term average.

Blue-winged teal estimated abundance is 7.7 million. Although this is 16 percent below the 2012 estimate of 9.2 million, the blue-wing population is 60 percent above the long-term average. Similarly, the green-winged teal estimate of 3.1 million is 12 percent below last year but still 51 percent above their long-term average.

The northern pintail estimate of 3.3 million is similar to the 2012 estimate of 3.5 million and 17 percent below the long-term average.

Estimated abundance of American wigeon is 2.6 million and 23 percent above the 2012 estimate and similar to the long-term average.

The combined lesser and greater scaup estimate of 4.2 million decreased 20 percent from last year and is 17 percent below the long-term average of 5 million. The canvasback estimate of 787,000 is similar to the 2012 estimate and 37 percent above the long-term average.

Despite a delayed spring throughout most of the traditional survey area, habitat conditions during the 2013 survey were generally improved or similar to last year due to above-average precipitation. Most of the Canadian portions of the traditional survey area were rated as good to excellent, in contrast to 2012 where drier conditions existed across northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Although the U.S. prairies received record snowfall in April, habitat conditions were still rated only fair to poor, similar to last year. The total pond estimate (prairie Canada and the north-central United States combined) is 6.9 million, 24 percent higher than the 2012 estimate of 5.5 million ponds and 35 percent above the long-term average.”

So it looks like its once again shaping up to be a great season. As usual, in Southern California, all we need is some severe weather up north at the right time to trigger the duck’s migration down to our area.

As I type this its just over 3 months until the season opens down here in our neck of the woods. This is an excellent time to start getting the gear together and cleaned up and inventoried. You might also want to think about stocking up on shells as it looks like, even though the count is down slightly, we’re likely going to have good numbers of waterfowl to shoot at this coming season.

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