2018 Status of Waterfowl Report Now Available

A pair of shovelers. Credit: Michelle Chupik

2018 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 41.2 million breeding ducks was lower than last year’s estimate of 47.3 million, but 17% higher than the long-term average. The total pond estimate was 5.2 million, which was 14% below last year’s estimate of 6.1 million and similar to the long-term average of 5.2 million. Habitat conditions were similar to or declined relative to 2017. Much of the Canadian Prairies experienced average fall and winter precipitation and below-average spring precipitation. The U.S. prairies experienced average to above-average precipitation, but had more variable conditions compared to prairie Canada. Habitat conditions generally declined northward, particularly near the Montana-North Dakota border with Canada.

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