US Fish & Wildlife Service

 

Date of this Version

7-3-2003

Citation

Wilkins, K. A. and M. C. Otto, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TRENDS IN DUCK BREEDING POPULATIONS, 1955-2003, (July 3, 2003).

Abstract

This report summarizes information about the status of duck populations and their habitats during spring 2003, and focuses on areas encompassed by the Breeding Waterfowl and Habitat Survey. These estimates do not include information from State or Provincial agency surveys. The traditional survey area includes strata 1-18, 20-50, and 75-77. In the traditional survey area, the total duck population estimate (excluding scoters [Melanitta spp.], eiders [Somateria and Polysticta spp.], long-tailed ducks [Clangula hyemalis], mergansers [Mergus and Lophodytes spp.], and wood ducks [Aix sponsa]) was 36.2 ± 0.7 [SE] million birds, 16% above (P < 0.001) last year’s estimate of 31.2 ± 0.5 million birds, and 9% above (P < 0.001) the 1955-2002 long-term average. Mallard abundance was 7.9 ± 0.3 million birds, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 7.5 ± 0.2 million birds (P = 0.220) and the long-term average (P = 0.100). Bluewinged teal abundance was estimated to be 5.5 ± 0.3 million birds. This value was 31% above last year’s estimate of 4.2 ± 0.2 million birds (P<0.001) and 23% above the long-term average (P = 0.001). Estimates of shovelers (3.6 ± 0.2 million; +56%) and pintails (2.6 ± 0.2 million; +43%) were above 2002 estimates (P < 0.001), while estimates of gadwall (2.5 ± 0.2 million), wigeon (2.6 ± 0.2 million), green-winged teal (2.7 ± 0.2 million), redheads (0.6 ± 0.1 million), canvasbacks (0.6 ± 0.1 million), and scaup (3.7 ± 0.2 million) were unchanged from 2002 estimates (P ≥ 0.149). Gadwall (+55%) and shovelers (+72%) were above their 1955-2002 averages (P < 0.001), as were green-winged teal (+46%; P < 0.001), which were at their second highest level since 1955. Pintails (-39%) and scaup (-29%) remained well below their long-term averages (P < 0.001). Estimates of wigeon, redheads, and canvasbacks were unchanged from their long-term averages (P ≥ 0.582).



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