Survey: Continental Duck Numbers Appear On Par With Last Fall

A drake mallard flies over a Minnesota wetland. (News Tribune file photo)

Overall continental duck numbers remain good, and mallard numbers are down slightly from last year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On Tuesday, the agency released its annual forecast of duck numbers, called the 2017 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations. The report is based on surveys conducted in May and early June.

Overall duck numbers in the survey area remain high The total population estimate was 47.3 million breeding ducks in the survey area, similar to last year’s estimate of 48.4 million. This year’s estimate is 34 percent above the 1955-2016 long-term average.

The projected mallard fall flight index is 12.9 million birds, similar to the 2016 estimate of 13.5 million.

Species estimates are:

Mallards: 10.5 million, 11 percent lower than 2016 and 34 percent above long-term average (LTA)

Gadwall: 4.2 million, 13 percent above 2016 and 111 percent above LTA

American wigeon: 2.8 million, 19 percent below 2016 and 6 percent above LTA

Green-winged teal: 3.6 million, 16 percent below 2016 and 70 percent above LTA

Blue-winged teal: 7.9 million, 18 percent above 2016 and 57 pecent above LTA

Northern shovelers: 4.4 million, 10 percent above 2016 and 69 percent above LTA

Northern pintails: 2.9 million, 10 percent above 2016 and 27 percent below LTA

Redheads: 1.1 million, 13 percent below 2016 and 55 percent above LTA

Canvasbacks: 0.7 million, similar to 2016 and 25 percent above LTA

Scaup: 4.4 million, 12 percent below 2016 and 13 percent below LTA

Black ducks (Eastern Survey Area): 0.5 million, similar to 2016 and 12 percent below LTA