Celebrate 100 Years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

image of Migratory Birds Treaty Act 100th Anniversary LogoAugust 16, 2016 is a day worthy of celebration among waterfowlers, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. signing of the first Migratory Bird Treaty with Great Britain (for Canada). The culmination of an unprecedented movement to protect wildlife wherever it lived, including across international borders, the Treaty set the stage for a century of bird conservation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing everyone to join in the celebration all week with a series of events and through social media.

Learn how you can join in the celebration

Banding Crews Encounter Wet and Muddy Conditions in Western Canada

image of USFWS banding crew in Cochin, SaskatchewanMark Koneff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division Chief of Migratory Bird Surveys is in Saskatchewan, Canada with several other pilot biologists you'll recognize from their contributions to our flight logs to band ducks for the annual waterfowl banding project. Banding ducks is part of the effort to continue gathering knowledge for better management of waterfowl, providing information on population estimates, migration patterns, life span, survivability, productivity, and disease prevalence. The Division of Migratory Bird Management undertakes a number of surveys in conjunction with the USFWS Regional Offices, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and State and Provincial wildlife-management agencies. Mark recently took a moment to report in on the conditions the banding crews are observing.

Using the Bands Across America search tools found on this site, you can query and map waterfowl banding data as recent as this past spring all the way back to 1914.

Your search of nearly 3.8 million banding records can be narrowed or expanded using multiple criteria to easily see banding and recovery locations. All results are plotted on a scalable map, offering critical information for waterfowl biologists monitoring populations across the continent.

Search the Map

Read Mark Koneff's field report

2016 Status of Waterfowl Report - Now Available

Green-winged teal. Credit: David Wong, Flickr.

2016 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 48.4 million breeding ducks was similar to last year’s estimate of 49.5 million, and 38% above the long-term average. The total pond estimate was 5 million, which was 21% below last year’s estimate of 6.3 million and similar to the long-term average of 5.2 million. Despite an early spring over most of the survey area, habitat conditions were poorer than last year because of below-average precipitation and subsequent drying of wetlands. Most prairie and parkland regions were at best fair for waterfowl production.

View Habitat Conditions Map

Download Status Report

"Here We Go Again!"... 2016 Breeding Population and Habitat Survey Gets Off the Ground

Veteran pilot biologist Jim Bredy and his observer Joe Sands enthusiastically launched the 2016 Breeding Population and Habitat Survey on May 3rd, taking to the skies of southern Alberta, Canada. Pilots and ground crews in ten other survey areas across Canada and the northern United States will follow suit in the days ahead, and as always you can get the inside scoop on what they are seeing every day as they post their observations, photos and videos. Jim and Joe report very dry conditions on the first day of the survey, but the weeks ahead will reveal whether that is the norm or simply one in a wide range of conditions throughout the Prairie Potholes region. What they find will play an important role in setting regulations for the fall waterfowl hunting seasons.

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A cooperative effort of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and state, provincial, and tribal agencies, this survey currently covers more than 2.1 million square miles of the northern United States and Canada, and includes most of the primary duck nesting areas in North America.

2015 Status of Waterfowl Report Released

Ruddy duck pair photo, Credit: Dave Menke, USFWSFinal results from the 2015 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. Preliminary reports are confirmed -- a total duck population estimate of 49.5 million birds in the traditional survey area, which is similar to last year's tally and holding steady at 43% above the long term average.

View Video Report

Download 2015 Report

2015 Trends in Breeding Duck Populations Report - Now Available

Teal brood. Credit: USFWS.

Preliminary 2015 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 49.5 million breeding ducks was similar to last year’s estimate of 49.2 million, and 43% above the long-term average. The total pond estimate was 6.3 million, which was 12% below last year’s estimate of 7.2 million and 21% above the long-term average of 5.2 million. Despite an early spring over most of the survey area, habitat conditions were similar to or poorer than last year. In many areas, the decline in habitat conditions was due to average to below-average annual precipitation, with the exception of portions of southern Saskatchewan and central latitudes of eastern Canada. Note: Estimates sometimes change between the preliminary numbers and final results.

View Pond Numbers

View Duck Numbers

View Habitat Conditions Map

Download Complete Trends Report

Download Trends Report Highlights Sheet

Spring Survey Takes Off for 60th Year

On May 5th, an aerial survey crew in the Eastern Dakotas had the honor of kicking off the 60th annual Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, flying initial transects between Winner and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While the initial observations point to very dry wetland conditions and a scarcity of ducks in that region, it remains to be seen what pilots and and ground crews in the ten other survey areas across Canada and the northern United States will find. What is certain is that their daily reports will be full of fascinating insights and anecdotes, captivating imagery, and important clues as to what to expect as regulations are set in late summer for the fall hunting season.

A cooperative effort of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and state, provincial, and tribal agencies, this survey currently covers more than 2.1 million square miles of the northern United States and Canada, and includes most of the primary duck nesting areas in North America.

Important Waterfowl Banding In Progress

image of USFWS staff conducting duck banding operations in SaskatchewanBrad Bortner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division Chief of Migratory Bird Management is in Saskatchewan, Canada with several of the pilot biologists you'll recognize from their contributions to our flight logs - Mark Koneff, Phil Thorpe and Walt Rhodes - and others from the Service, to band ducks for the annual waterfowl banding project. Banding ducks is part of the effort to continue gathering knowledge for better management of waterfowl, providing information on population estimates, migration patterns, life span, survivability, productivity, and disease prevalence. The Division of Migratory Bird Management undertakes a number of surveys in conjunction with the USFWS Regional Offices, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and State and Provincial wildlife-management agencies.

Using the Bands Across America search tools found on this site, you can query and map waterfowl banding data as recent as this past spring all the way back to 1914.

Your search of more than 3.6 million banding records can be narrowed or expanded using multiple criteria to easily see banding and recovery locations. All results are plotted on a scalable map, offering critical information for waterfowl biologists monitoring populations across the continent.

Search the Map

View More Images on the USFWS Migratory Birds Program Facebook page

2014 Status of Waterfowl Report Released

American Wigeon photo, Credit: Brendan Lally, FlickrFinal results from the 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. Preliminary reports are confirmed -- a total duck population estimate of 49.2 million birds in the traditional survey area, which is an 8% increase over last year's tally and 43% above the long term average.

View Video Report

Download 2014 Report

2014 Trends in Breeding Duck Populations Report - Now Available

Lesser scaup pair on the Earl Grey transect, Southern Manitoba. Credit: Marc Schuster, Canadian Wildlife Service.

Preliminary 2014 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 49.2 million breeding ducks was 8% higher than last year’s estimate of 45.6 million, and 43% above the long-term average. The total pond estimate was 7.2 million, similar to last year’s estimate of 6.9 million and 40% above the long-term average of 5.1 million. Spring was delayed even later than last year across most of the survey area. Habitat conditions during the survey were mostly improved or similar to last year, due to average to above-average annual precipitation. The exceptions were west-central Alberta and east of James Bay in Quebec. Note: Estimates sometimes change between the preliminary numbers and final results.

View Pond Numbers

View Duck Numbers

View Habitat Conditions Map

Download Trends Report

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