Field Reports: 2018 Duck Production Outlook

Habitat conditions were variable this summer across North America's most important waterfowl breeding areas

fieldreportsSO18

By DU Field Biologists

1. BRITISH COLUMBIA Wet summer weather maintained or recharged wetland habitats across much of this province. Preliminary observations suggest that there was a strong waterfowl breeding effort in areas with good habitat. 

2. ALBERTA Summer was warmer and drier than average across much of this province, but carryover water from the spring runoff and localized rainfall helped maintain semipermanent wetland habitats. Although waterfowl breeding efforts were delayed by cool spring weather, good numbers of broods were observed in many areas. 

3. SASKATCHEWAN Summer rainfall across this vast province was average to above average, except in the southwest, where precipitation was well below average. In areas that received sufficient rainfall, semipermanent wetlands provided good habitat for waterfowl broods.

4. MANITOBA As in the other prairie provinces, brood observations in Manitoba were well below average in June and spiked in early to mid-July. Despite dry summer weather, many semipermanent wetlands retained enough water to support broods. 

5. ONTARIO Summer precipitation and temperatures were variable across Ontario, with dry weather and average temperatures in the south and average precipitation and above-average temperatures in the north. Nesting Canada geese appear to have been impacted by cool spring weather, while mallards and other ducks have had a more typical breeding effort. 

6. QUÉBEC Summer rainfall was average to below average across this province. The Saint Lawrence River receded over the summer, providing favorable habitat for renesting ducks and brood rearing. 

7. ATLANTIC CANADA This region received average to above-average precipitation this summer. Brood production appears to have been below average or late, likely due to cold spring weather and flooding, which persisted well into June. 

8. NORTH-CENTRAL U.S. Habitat conditions across the Dakotas and northeastern Montana have improved, thanks to ample spring and summer rains. Given an average to slightly above-average expected waterfowl breeding population, the region's contribution to the fall flight will likely be similar to the long-term average. 

9. GREAT LAKES AND NORTHEASTERN U.S. Wetland conditions in the Great Lakes and northeastern United States have deteriorated as significant portions of both regions have received below-average summer precipitation. These conditions may have adversely impacted brood habitat and renesting opportunities for waterfowl in some areas.

10. WESTERN U.S. In California, breeding duck numbers were up considerably this spring. Brood habitats were rated fair in the Sacramento Valley and Suisun Marsh and poor in the Grasslands and Tulare Basin. Late-summer wetland conditions were generally good in Washington and Idaho, and fair to poor in Oregon. In Alaska, good-to-excellent wetland conditions prevailed throughout the summer, providing favorable habitat for breeding waterfowl and their broods.