Breeding Survey estimates 48.6 million ducks; Mallards at highest level since 1999
North America's total spring duck population is the highest ever recorded, according to the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released today.
Conducted each May by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service, the survey puts the duck population at 48.6 million birds. That represents a 7 percent increase from 2011's record number of 45.6 million.
"This is the highest duck count since we started the survey in 1955," says Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl's scientific director. "We had excellent wetland conditions in 2011, the second-highest pond count ever. So last year, we made a pile of ducks. This year, we're counting them."
Mallards, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwalls, canvasbacks, northern shovelers and scaup are all up significantly from last year, with both species of teal and shovelers at all-time highs. Blue-winged teal are estimated at 9.2 million, green-winged teal number more than 3.4 million and shovelers now top 5 million
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