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I guess our drought is not their drought. Curious to know Michigan's numbers. Good news none the less!


TNL




Breeding duck count is highest on record

By Joe Albert Contributing Writer
Posted on July 19, 2012
Laurel, Md. — The breeding duck population in North America soared to a record high this year, according to results of an annual survey that includes the United States and Canada.
Officials estimate there were 48.6 million breeding ducks in the survey area, which is 7 percent high than last year.
“This is the highest duck count since we started the survey in 1955,” Frank Rohwer, scientific director for Delta Waterfowl, said in a news release. “We had excellent wetland conditions in 2011, the second-highest pond count ever. So last year, we made a pile of ducks. This year, we’re counting them.”
While duck numbers were high, this year’s pond counts are well below last year. According to the report – Trends in Waterfowl Breeding Populations, 1955-2012 – pond counts are 32 percent lower than last year.
The U.S. prairies saw the largest declines in pond counts – a 49 percent drop from last year. The only spot where wetland habitat was rated as good as last year was in the Coteau region of North and South Dakota.
The pond estimate in Canada also was 21 percent below last year’s estimate.
“The Dakotas have carried a disproportionate load of continental duck production over the last few years,” said John Devney, senior director of U.S. policy for Delta Waterfowl. “If we get dry here and lose the wetlands and upland nesting cover, the U.S. prairies just won’t be able to produce at the amazing levels we’ve seen since the mid-1990s, and that will have a real impact on hunters everywhere.”
According to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual breeding waterfowl survey, nesting cover in that state continues to decline. There are about 2.3 million acres of CRP, which is 30 percent lower than the number of acres in 2007.
“Projections are that more than 650,000 acres will be lost in 2012, and an additional 1.1 million acres will be lost in 2013-14,” Mike Szymanski, a waterfowl biologist for NDGF, said in a news release. “The loss of critical nesting cover will be disastrous for breeding ducks, other nesting birds, and hunting opportunities in the future.”
But if the habitat news isn’t great, the opposite is true about this year’s duck counts.
Following is a look at the individual duck species:

  • Mallards: 10.6 million, up 15 percent from last year and 40 percent above the long-term average. It’s the first time since 1999 that mallard populations have exceeded 10 million.
  • Gadwall: 3.6 million, 10 percent above last year and 96 percent above the long-term average.
  • American wigeon: 2.1 million, 3 percent above last year and 17 percent below the long-term average.
  • Green-winged teal: 3.5 million, 20 percent higher than last year and 74 percent above the long-term average.
  • Blue-winged teal: 9.2 million, a record high, 3 percent above last year, and 94 percent higher than the long-term average.
  • Northern shoveler: 5 million, a record high, 8 percent above last year, and 111 percent higher than the long-term average.
  • Redhead: 1.3 million, 6 percent below last year and 89 percent higher than the long-term average.
  • Canvasback: 760,000, 10 percent higher than last year and 33 percent above the long-term average.
  • Scaup: 5.2 million, 21 percent higher than last year and 4 percent above the long-term average.
  • Northern pintail: 3.5 million, 22 percent below last year and 14 percent below the long-term average.
Devney speculates the dry conditions on the prairies caused pintails to simply continue flying north.
“Pintail numbers increased in northerly habitats such as Alaska,” he said. “This suggests (pintails) over-flew the prairies this spring. Research has well documented that in average or dry conditions, many pintails head north to the boreal forest. The survey’s ability to detect them is reduced.”
 

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I don't believe it.

I think we're in for a rough go this season on some species.

Whatever comes through though, you be be sure TJ will whack his share...

Thanks for the optimistic forecast...
 

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Although it rained last night in SE michigan, I am beginning to doubt whether there will be any standing water for hunting puddle ducks. This evening I am going out to my favorite early season pond to verify if it even is a pond right now.

Anyone finding that their usual ponds have dried up? With so many birds out there, shouldn't they all be concentrated on the remaining bodies of water come October? Shouldn't lots of birds plus fewer ponds equal easier hunting?
 

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Although it rained last night in SE michigan, I am beginning to doubt whether there will be any standing water for hunting puddle ducks. This evening I am going out to my favorite early season pond to verify if it even is a pond right now.

Anyone finding that their usual ponds have dried up? With so many birds out there, shouldn't they all be concentrated on the remaining bodies of water come October? Shouldn't lots of birds plus fewer ponds equal easier hunting?
You'd think it lead to easier hunting. I feel as though birds will just move through the area faster than they already do, due to lack of food and hunting preasure. And even though there'll be less ponds the birds will be smarter later bc more than likely they will have survived a shooting or 2.

and luckily for me my 2 good early season ponds are holding water still and my area has been one of the drier ones, and luckily for me Lake erie would have a hard time ever drying up ;)
 

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My favorite duck hole had a little water left. I haven't been seeing many mallards but last night I saw a pretty nice sized flock of em. All the local marshes where u can always find ducks are dry. Interesting season ahead things will change quick.

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Keep in mind. This is the Breeding Count. It is not the fall flight forecast or recruitment of young birds.

It is a measure of the birds that have returned to the breeding grounds after last season.

It is still very good news.
 

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I don't believe it.

I think we're in for a rough go this season on some species.

Whatever comes through though, you be be sure TJ will whack his share...

Thanks for the optimistic forecast...
:lol: looking forward to blue bills this year.
 

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couple days ago I seen a fresh group of little ones. They were super super small, could not be more than a couple days old. I sure hope there water does not dry up on them..

And GO DELTA..... .

Support your local Delta groups!!
 

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I guess our drought is not their drought.
Actually, it is. The numbers actually surprised a lot of the experts simply because pond counts were down. Because of that, we shouldn't expect such a rosy outlook next year.
 

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I don't believe it.

I think we're in for a rough go this season on some species.

Whatever comes through though, you be be sure TJ will whack his share...

Thanks for the optimistic forecast...

I agree..the dry weather is not going to be good.
 

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Paper ducks!

^^^X2 these were ducks that returned to the praires this year for breeding, where the pond count was down 49%? Which means (to me anyway) the ducks were more concentrated in those areas ie: much easier to count when the ponds are full because pond count it down. I wouldn't expect millions of ducks to move through Michigan anytime soon.

Don't wanna be a Debbie downer; but the river I live on in SW Michigan has only been lower 1 time in the last 28 years. Pretty dry conditions all over the country to be honest. If the ducks make it here in any numbers, for the most part they will be concentrated and will take a hurtin. That I can predict....... :dizzy: JMO

Smoke
 

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Checked on my little pond (Sag Bay) and it still has water :rolleyes:

The lack of rain also affected it, the water level has not varied 2-3 inches since last Nov. and we usually see a least a one foot raise in the summer (my visuals and markers also supported by the Army Corps Graphs). So only 1 way to go from here, expect 6 inches lower then last year for the duck season and spots that were skinny last year you can't get to now.

On a separate note, we measured a water temp of +90 in the bay during the heat wave this summer, so all the local ducks are pre-cooked and ready to eat.
 
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