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2012 Waterfowl Forecast

Another large fall flight is expected after waterfowl break more records on the breeding grounds
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  • photo by Michaelfurtman.com
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Atlantic Flyway

The majority of Atlantic Flyway waterfowl are raised in the eastern United States and Canada, although this flyway also receives large numbers of dabbling ducks and divers from the prairies and Great Lakes states. In 2012, the total breeding duck population estimate for the six most abundant species in the eastern survey area (covering eastern Ontario, Québec, Atlantic Canada, Maine, and northern New York) was 2.2 million birds. In encouraging news for waterfowlers, black duck numbers were up 11 percent from the previous year's estimate and were similar to the long-term (1990−2012) average. Populations of mallards, ring-necked ducks, and green-winged teal were statistically similar to last year's estimate and the long-term average. 

DU Canada biologist Nic McLellan reports that this appears to have been a good year for waterfowl production in Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island), a key breeding area for black ducks and many other waterfowl. "Wetland habitat was slightly less abundant on the landscape this summer because of dry weather, but this shouldn't limit waterfowl breeding success. DU-managed wetlands had stable water levels and provided good habitat throughout the brood-rearing period. Spring and summer weather was ideal for breeding waterfowl. In addition, many broods were observed, with a larger average brood size compared to last year." 

The outlook for Atlantic Flyway goose populations is also good. Based on spring weather and habitat conditions on northern breeding areas, average production was expected for Atlantic Population Canada geese and brant, and fall populations of these geese should be similar to last year's. Fair production was also reported among greater snow geese, which should have another large fall flight.  

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