US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



U.S. Department of the Interior (1959)


There is no optimism expressed in the reports from the Flyway Biologists and other observers making surveys on the waterfowl breeding grounds in Canada and the United States. The only bright spot is a report from Fairbanks, Alaska, that the Yukon Flats and other breeding areas in that vicinity are well populated with waterfowl. While this is a heartening sign, only in a small degree does it offset the prospects for poor production in the heart of the continental breeding grounds in the Prairie States and Provinces.

As one observer with many years of experience in the prairies has put it, the early and middle fifties were the "fat" years. Precipitation during these years was in excess of normal, and in 1955 particularly, there was an unprecedented amount of rainfall on the prairies. In 1956 precipitation remained high but in 1957 there was a noticeable decline in the number of water areas and even though the carry-over of surface and soil moisture provided means for production of a good duck crop, Bureau observers even then began to call attention to the possibility of a downward trend in the precipitation curve.