Late-Summer 2021 Waterfowl Production Outlook

An overview of late-summer habitat conditions across key waterfowl breeding areas

© Dawn Wilson

—By DU Field Biologists

1. BRITISH COLUMBIA

Summer has been exceptionally hot and dry across this province, drawing down wetlands and stressing crops in the interior. However, broods of various species and age classes have been observed, and fair to good production is expected.

2. ALBERTA

Extremely hot, dry weather has resulted in poor wetland conditions across the south. Larger permanent wetlands are still holding water, and broods of Canada geese and ducks are being observed, although in much lower numbers than average. Better wetland conditions exist in the northern parklands and Boreal Forest, where waterfowl production is expected to be average to above-average.

3. SASKATCHEWAN

Widespread drought has intensified over the summer, and many semipermanent and even permanent wetlands are now dry across this vast prairie province. Grain crops are suffering and are likely beyond recovery in many areas. Field staff have observed very few broods, and poor waterfowl production is expected.

4. MANITOBA

The prairie pothole country of southwestern Manitoba remains in the grips of severe drought, and many wetlands are showing exposed mudflats or are completely dry. Waterfowl broods have been observed in wetlands that continue to hold water, but poor production is expected overall.

5. ONTARIO

Although parts of the province are drier than average, sufficient wetland habitat remains in most areas to sustain waterfowl through the breeding period. Canada goose and duck broods have been observed in typical numbers, and average to good waterfowl production is expected.

6. QUEBEC

Despite dry summer weather, wetland conditions remain favorable for waterfowl in this province. Broods of both early- and late-nesting species have been observed, and average to good waterfowl production is expected. 

7. ATLANTIC CANADA

Rainfall was average to above-average across Atlantic Canada this summer, providing ample habitat for breeding waterfowl. Many broods have been observed, particularly Canada geese and early-nesting dabblers like mallards and black ducks. Overall, good waterfowl production is expected in the region this year. 

8. NORTH-CENTRAL US

Wetland conditions have continued to deteriorate across the Great Plains states, with much of the eastern Dakotas and northeastern Montana experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. With little or no wetland habitat remaining on the landscape in many areas, below-average waterfowl production is expected in this region.

9. GREAT LAKES AND NORTHEASTERN US

The outlook for waterfowl production is variable across the Great Lakes and northeastern United States. Abnormally dry to severe drought conditions have persisted in some areas, which likely limited brood habitat and renesting efforts, while better wetland habitat is available in others, where typical waterfowl production is expected. 

10. WESTERN

US Unprecedented drought continues to plague the western United States, including in the Central Valley of California, where waterfowl production is expected to be very poor. The outlook is much better in Alaska, where good wetland conditions are expected to produce another large fall flight of ducks and geese.