According to the latest survey by the U.S. and Canadian Fish and Wildlife Services, duck numbers are at an all-time high.
The survey, which is conducted every May, put North America’s total spring duck population at an estimated 48.6 million birds. That’s the highest count in the history of the survey, which was first conducted in 1955.
Last year officials estimated 45.6 million birds, which was also a record at the time.
“We had excellent wetland conditions in 2011, the second-highest pond count ever. So last year, we made a pile of ducks. This year, we’re counting them,” Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl’s scientific director said in a press release.
Some species-specific stats…
Mallards: 10.6 million, 40 percent over long-term average
Gadwalls: 3.5 million, almost double long-term average
Scaup: 5.2 million, highest breeding population since 1991
Redheads: 1.3 million, second highest population estimate in history of survey
This of course is great news for duck hunters across the country, but don’t count you’re mallards just because they’ve hatched. Last year duck numbers were also up, but hunters in many regions still had trouble putting birds in the boat. This was because a late winter kept ducks from migrating south before the hunting season closed.
Did this happen to you last year? What are your expectations for this season? Comment below!