Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Waterfowl numbers in good shape

From the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:

Preliminary results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service’s Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey indicate a total duck population estimate of more than 41 million birds in the traditional survey area. This represents a 14 percent increase from 2006 and is 24 percent above the 1955-2006 average.

“There’s a lot of good news in the survey this year for the total duck population and waterfowl breeding habitat,” said H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We have five species that are at record or near record highs, including canvasbacks, and there are good breeding conditions on the prairies. However, we remain concerned that pintails and scaup are well below long-term averages.”

The Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind in the world, samples 1.3 million square miles across the north- central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska. The survey estimates the number of ducks in the continent's most important nesting grounds.
Not surprisingly, Northern Pintail and Greater Scaup (above) -- but not Lesser Scaup -- appear on National Audubon Society's list of the top 20 common birds in decline. For multitudinous details in the USFWS report, click here.

Greater Scaup courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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