The north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska are known as America’s duck factory. In the past year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reports, duck populations in these regions are up, in spite of a decline in breeding habitat conditions.
The USFWS press release announces the availability of the 26-page long 2012 Trends in Duck Breeding Report.
According to the report, the decline in breeding conditions is due primarily to a mild winter (which means less snow, therefore less snowmelt), a dry spring and warmer than typical spring temperatures.
The shocking statistic was a 49 percent decrease in ponds from last year. The report says that the number of ponds this year was similar to the average, so it appears that last year’s wet weather had as much to do with the pond decline as this year’s dry weather.
The least shocking statistic is that mallard numbers are way up.
Photo: Mallard drake by Erwin and Peggy Bauer, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service