Photograph by Joe Mac Hudspeth, Jr. ·

News and Events

Duck Breeding Populations Remain High in 2015

JACKSON - The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service recently completed their annual waterfowl population surveys on the breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canadian provinces.  These surveys monitor waterfowl populations and critical wetland habitat conditions, which are used to help set hunting season frameworks.  Overall, North American breeding duck population estimates increased one percent from 2014 estimates and remained just over 49 million birds.

Population estimates for five of the ten surveyed duck species increased this year.  Mallard numbers increased 7% from last year to 11.6 million birds, which is the highest estimate on record.  Green-winged teal and canvasback populations showed the greatest increases (19% and 11%, respectively).  Gadwall and blue-winged teal populations experienced minimal increases.  Northern shoveler (-17%), northern pintail (-6%), redhead (-6%), scaup (-5%), and wigeon (-3%) populations demonstrated a decrease in overall numbers.

Houston Havens, MDWFP Waterfowl Program Leader, commented “Even with breeding duck populations at record numbers, Mississippi hunters are reminded that many factors contribute to whether or not these birds show up here in mass”. Fall and winter weather, as well as wetland habitat conditions on the wintering grounds play a major role in duck migrations, which will ultimately determine the success of Mississippi’s duck hunters.

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