KDWPT / KDWPT Info / News / News Archive / 2007 Weekly News Archive / 7/19/07 / 2007 WATERFOWL SURVEY SHOWS GOOD NEWS



2007 WATERFOWL SURVEY SHOWS GOOD NEWS

Canvasbacks, redheads, and northern shovelers break traditional survey records
WASHINGTON, DC -- Preliminary results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Canadian Wildlife Service's Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey indicate a breeding duck population estimate of more than 41 million birds in the northcentral United States and southcentral and northern Canada. This represents a 14 percent increase from 2006 and is 24 percent above the "long-term average" (1955-2006).

The Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind in the world, samples 1.3 million square miles across the northcentral United States, southcentral and northern Canada, and Alaska. The survey estimates the number of ducks in the continent's most important nesting grounds.

Overall, habitat for breeding waterfowl in 2007 was similar or slightly improved compared to 2006. The pond estimate (Prairie Canada and United States combined) was 7 million ponds, 15 percent greater than last year's estimate of 6.1 million ponds and 44 percent higher than the long-term average of 4.9 million ponds. For the third year in a row, habitat was good or excellent in the northern grasslands and parklands of southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba. Conditions in the eastern Dakotas, which experienced drought in 2006, were improved by abundant fall and winter precipitation, especially in eastern South Dakota.

Highlights from the survey include the following:

  • the estimated number of 8.3 million mallards is 14 percent greater than last year's estimate of 7.3 million birds and 11 percent above the long-term average;
  • the estimated number of 6.7 million blue-winged teal is 14 percent greater than last year's estimate and 48 percent above the long-term average, the third highest estimate on record;
  • the estimated number of 2.9 million green-winged teal is similar to last year and 54 percent above the long-term average;
  • the estimated number of 3.4 million gadwall is 19 percent greater than last year, 96 percent above the long-term average, and the second highest estimate on record;
  • the estimated number of 1 million redheads is similar to last year and 60 percent above the long-term average, a record high;
  • the estimated number of 865,000 canvasbacks is similar to last year and 53 percent above the long-term average, a record high;
  • the estimated number of northern shovelers at 4.6 million birds is 24 percent above last year and 106 percent above the long-term average, a record high;
  • the estimated number of American wigeon at 2.8 million birds is 29 percent greater than last year and similar to the long term average for this species;
  • the estimated number of scaup (lesser and greater combined) at 3.5 million birds is slightly higher than last year but 33 percent below the long-term average; and
  • the northern pintails estimate of 3.3 million birds is similar to last year and 19 percent below the long-term average.

If the increased number of breeding birds translates to increased numbers of migrating ducks this fall, it could be good news for waterfowl hunters in Kansas and the rest of the Central Flyway. Most Kansas waterfowl management areas are holding plenty of water and should be in good shape when the seasons open this fall. Once the seasons begin, waterfowl hunters can keep track of duck numbers by going to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, and typing "waterfowl reports" in the search box.

Late-migrating waterfowl seasons will be set at the Aug. 16 meeting of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting at Bass Pro Shop, 12051 Bass Pro Drive in Olathe. September teal seasons have been set and include the following:

  • Low Plains, east of U.S. 283: Sept. 8-23; and
  • High Plains, west of U.S. 283: Sept.15-22.

The daily bag limit is four teal with a possession limit of eight. Federal and state duck stamps and HIP stamps are required.
-30-