News from July 2012

North America's 2012 spring duck population at record high levels

July 26, 2012 | Posted by AB NAWMP

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently released their 2012 report on trends in duck breeding populations.

This report is the result of an annual, coordinated operation by U.S. and Canadian wildlife biologists who assess over two million square miles of this continent’s waterfowl habitat – the North American waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey. The report summarizes information about the status of duck populations and wetlands in 2012, with comparisons to the previous year and long-term average survey data.

This year’s survey results estimate waterfowl production in North America to be at a record high – 48.6 million. That’s 7% above 2011 and 43% above the long-term continental average.

From an Alberta perspective, Michael Barr, Alberta NAWMP Coordinator, is pleased with what he sees in the report. “Alberta showed the greatest relative increase over 2011 across North America,” explains Barr. “At an estimated 4.85 million birds, southern areas of the province (prairie and aspen parkland) were 11% over 2011 numbers and 14% above the long term average.”

Central and northern areas of Alberta (shared with north east BC and NWT) hosted an estimated 8.8 million birds, which is 24% over 2011 numbers and 24% above the long term average. Mallard populations were especially responsive at 34% and 59% for the same, respective areas over 2011.

Barr adds, “These remarkable bird numbers remind us of the significance of Alberta’s wetlands in the continental picture.”

Click on the link below to access a copy of the 2012 survey.

Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 1955–2012 (PDF 2.3 MB)