Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
2006 Waterfowl Survey Shows Duck Population Gains

July 17, 2006

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Telephone: 703-358-2220
Website: https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/public-affairs/



The preliminary 2006 Waterfowl Breeding Ground Population and Habitat Survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates a total duck population of more than 36 million; or a 14 percent increase from last years estimate and 9 percent above the 1955-2005 average.

The survey indicated an increase in the quality of waterfowl breeding habitat in the United States and Canada from 2005. Improvements in Canadian and U.S. prairie habitats were primarily due to average to above-average precipitation, warm spring temperatures and the good summer conditions of 2005. The higher number of ponds counted in Prairie Canada this year relative to last are a strong indicator of the improved habitat conditions.

"Theres a lot of good news in the survey this year for the total duck population and waterfowl breeding habitat," said H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Most species increased above the estimates of last year and numbers were above the long term baseline. Were especially excited about the fact that while pintail populations are below their historic average numbers, the survey shows a 32 percent increase in pintail population from the previous year. However, wigeon and scaup are not experiencing those positive trends and thats cause for concern."

The Waterfowl Breeding Ground Population and Habitat Survey, the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind in the world, samples 1.3 million square miles across the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska. The survey estimates the number of ducks in the continents most important nesting grounds.

Annual survey results help guide the Service in managing waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service works in partnership with state representatives from the four flyways - the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific - that waterfowl and other birds use during their migrations to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates and bag limits.

Highlights from the survey in the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska include:

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.


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