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Banding Together for Waterfowl

2013 Waterfowl Forecast

Good habitat conditions on the breeding grounds should result in another large fall flight this year
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Mississippi Flyway

The Mississippi Flyway receives most of its waterfowl from the prairies, Great Lakes region, Western Boreal Forest, and Arctic. In the southern Manitoba survey area (which also includes parts of southeastern Saskatchewan), this year's estimate of almost 1.6 million breeding ducks was similar to last year's estimate and the long-term average. Populations of all common duck species were statistically unchanged in 2013—except for green-winged teal and scaup, which decreased, and American wigeon, which increased—relative to last year's estimates. 

DU Canada Conservation Programs Specialist Mark Francis reports that southern Manitoba also had good to excellent wetland conditions in 2013. "Frequent, widespread rains have maintained or improved wetland habitats throughout Manitoba's parkland region. Semipermanent wetlands are full to overflowing, and seasonal wetlands are also inundated. Observations of numerous broods of different age classes indicate that there was a good initial hatch as well as good nest success among late-nesting species and renesting birds," Francis says. 

Across the Boreal Forest and tundra of northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, and western Ontario, this year's estimate of 3.4 million breeding ducks was up 25 percent from the previous year and was similar to the long-term average. Among the four most commonly surveyed ducks in this region, populations of American wigeon and green-winged teal increased, while numbers of mallards and scaup were similar to 2012 estimates.  

DU Canada Conservation Programs Specialist David McLachlin reports that 2013 appears to have been another good year for waterfowl production in Ontario. "Very wet conditions have continued this spring and summer across much of the province. Mallard breeding chronology appears to be normal, with a protracted breeding effort reported in a number of locations. Overall, duck production is expected to be above average in Ontario this year," McLachlin says.  

In the Great Lakes states, above-average spring precipitation improved habitat conditions for breeding ducks across much of this region. In Minnesota, this year's estimate of total ducks (683,000 birds) was up relative to both the 2012 estimate and the long-term average. In Michigan, an estimated 678,600 breeding ducks were surveyed this spring, a level similar to last year's total and the long-term average. 

And in Wisconsin, total breeding ducks (527,300 birds) were up slightly from the 2012 estimate and the long-term average.  

The goose population outlook in the Mississippi Flyway is generally good. Among northern nesting Canada geese, the Mississippi Valley and Eastern Prairie populations are expected to have fall flights similar to last year's, while the beleaguered Southern James Bay Population should have a smaller fall flight. Good breeding success was expected among midcontinent white-fronted geese, and this population remains healthy. Production of lesser snow and Ross's geese was variable, but another large fall flight of these birds is expected. 

Forecast by Flyway:

Pacific Flyway  | Central Flyway  |  Mississippi Flyway  |  Atlantic Flyway
 


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