Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Waterfowl at Great River and Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuges in Missouri. Photo by USFWS.

Waterfowl at Great River and Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuges in Missouri. Photo by USFWS.

Service releases 2017 waterfowl breeding
population and habitat survey

The 2017 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey is now available. Results indicate that the total duck population from the traditional survey area (north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska) is estimated to be 47.3 million birds. This estimate is similar to last year’s estimate of 48.4 million birds and is 34 percent above the long-term average.

The combination of normal spring phenology and wet conditions through most of the primary breeding areas should lead to good to excellent waterfowl production across most of the region. The total (Prairie Canada and US) pond estimate was 6.1 million, 22% above last year’s estimate, and 17% above the long-term average of 5.2 million.

This report includes the most current breeding population information available for waterfowl in North America and is a result of cooperative efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), various state and provincial conservation agencies, and private conservation organizations. In addition to providing current information on the status of populations, this report will aid the development of waterfowl harvest regulations in the United States for the 2018–2019 hunting season.

Although most migratory game bird populations remain abundant, when and where birds will be encountered depends on many factors. Food availability, habitat and weather conditions, and other factors all influence local bird abundance, distribution, behavior and ultimately, hunter success.

For more information about surveyed areas, survey methodologies, habitat conditions and estimates, see the Waterfowl Population Status 2017 report. Visit our pilot biologist’s flight blogs.

Last updated: June 8, 2020