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2015 Waterfowl Forecast

Reprinted from Ducks Unlimited.

Another large fall flight is expected as waterfowl populations remain at high levels.

Central Flyway
The majority of Central Flyway waterfowl are raised on the prairies of the United States and Canada as well as in the Western Boreal Forest and the Arctic. Saskatchewan consistently ranks at the top of North America’s most important waterfowl breeding areas, and this year was no exception. More than 13.5 million breeding ducks were surveyed across the vast grasslands and parklands of this province—similar to the 2014 estimate and 74 percent above the long-term average.
DU Canada biologist Kelly Rempel reports that despite variable wetland conditions, another strong waterfowl breeding effort was observed in Saskatchewan this year. “After promising early-season conditions due to abundant carryover water, wetlands started to draw down and expose mudflats by early July,” Rempel says. “Isolated thunderstorms have since improved wetland conditions in localized areas, dropping several inches of rain in some cases. Waterfowl production appears to be very good, with far more early broods observed by our field staff than in past years.”
In the north-central United States, almost 10 million breeding ducks were surveyed in 2015. In the eastern Dakotas, breeding ducks decreased 19 percent this spring, but remained 42 percent above the long-term average. In the western Dakotas and Montana, duck numbers were down 25 percent from the previous year’s total, but remained 60 percent above the long-term average. [Read more…]