Number of breeding ducks, ponds down from last year

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 6:40 AM

The number of mallards is down 7 percent, according to the waterfowl survey.

Photo: Doug Smith, Jm -

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Midcontinent breeding duck numbers are down 9 percent from last year, probably because of poor wetland conditions in the United States and Canada, according to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's spring waterfowl survey.

Total breeding duck population in the surveyed area was estimated at 37.3 million, down from 41.2 million last spring. But it was still 11 percent above the long-term average dating back to 1955.

Mallard numbers were down 7 percent and gadwall numbers were down 19 percent. Green-winged teal were up 3 percent and blue-winged teal were down 1 percent. Scaup were up 8 percent -- one of the bright spots of the survey.

Water is key to duck production, but drought in much of the prairie pothole region affected habitat. The number of ponds counted was 4.4 million, down 37 percent from last year's estimate and 10 percent below the long-term average.

The spring survey results are important, because they are used to help set hunting regulations.

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