2017 Status of Waterfowl Report - Now Available

A pair of shovelers. Credit: Michelle Chupik

2017 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 47.3 million breeding ducks was similar to last year’s estimate of 48.4 million, and 34% above the long-term average. The total pond estimate was 6.1 million, which was 22% above last year’s estimate of 5 million and 17% higher than the long-term average of 5.2 million. Habitat conditions were similar to or improved relative to 2016, with a few exceptions. Much of the Canadian Prairies experienced above-average precipitation between June 2016 and the start of the survey. Abundant moisture delayed 2017 agricultural activities, and much of the 2016 crops remained unharvested, particularly in southern Saskatchewan. The Canadian parklands, while drier than areas further south, still benefitted from wet conditions in previous years. The U.S. prairies experienced average to above-average precipitation, but conditions there were more variable. Habitat conditions were generally better in the more northern portions of the U.S. prairies, mainly due to a better frost seal.

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