Date of this Version
Wilkins, K.A. and E.G. Cooch. 1999. Waterfowl population status, 1999. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 33 pp. + appendices.
This report summarizes the most recent information on the status of North American duck populations to facilitate development of harvest regulations in the U.S. The results in this report differ from those published in the earlier •Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, 1955-99." Because of recent changes, tables from the Trend Report, not normally included in the Status Report, will be included this year. The 1999 estimate for total ducks in the traditional survey area was 43.4 million birds, the largest population size estimated since operational surveys began in 1955. This is an increase (P<0.01) of 11% over that of 1998, and 32% higher (P<0.01) than the 1955-98 average. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) abundance was 10.8 million, the second largest population size estimated. This is an increase of 12% (P=0.01) over last year and 47% (P<0.01) greater than the long-term average. Blue-winged teal (Anas discors) abundance was 7.1 million, an all-time high, and 65% greater than the long-term average (P<0.01). Northern pintail (Anas acuta), scaup (Aythya marila and Aythya affinis), green-winged teal (Anas crecca), and northern shoveler (Anas clypeata) numbers increased from 1998 estimates, while gadwall (Anas strepera) decreased (P<0.04). Gadwall, green-winged teal, northern shoveler, redheads (Aythya americana), and canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) were above their respective long-term averages (P<0.05), while pintails and scaup remained below their long-term averages (P<0.01). American wigeon (Anas americana) numbers were unchanged from last year or from long-term average. May habitat conditions in the traditional survey area were generally good to excellent, except for a few dry areas primarily in southern and central Alberta, Montana, and central Saskatchewan. The number of May ponds in the traditional survey area was 6.7 million, an increase of 46% over 1998 and 37% above the long-term average (P<0.01). In the eastern areas of Canada and the U.S. (strata 51-56 and 62), the total number of ducks (1.2 million) remained unchanged from last year and the 1995-98 average (P<0.10). Numbers of individual species in the east were similar to those of last year (P • 0.10), except for goldeneye (Bucephala clangula and B. islandica), which were 196% greater than 1998 levels, and scaup, which were 93% below 1998 levels. Goldeneye were above their 1995-98 average, while blue-winged teal and scaup were below (P<0.03). Habitats in the east were somewhat drier than last year, and conditions were overall not as favorable for waterfowl production. The estimate of the total-duck fall-flight index is105 million birds, compared to 84 million last year. The fall flight is predicted to include 13.6 million mallards, 16% greater (P<0.01) than the estimate of 11.8 million in 1998.