Better Forecast On The Horizon For California Ducks


. Photo by Debra Hamilton/CDFW

The Ducks Unlimited 2018 waterfowl forecast was released on Friday, and the results seem to bode well for California’s duck migration. Here’s some of DU’s Pacific Flyway forecast:

The majority of Pacific Flyway waterfowl are raised on the prairies of the United States and Canada as well as in northwestern Canada, Alaska, and other western states. In southern Alberta, spring arrived quickly after a wintry start to April. The rapid snowmelt caused some localized flooding and recharged many wetland basins. Following a delayed start, waterfowl breeding efforts were in full swing by mid-May. Total breeding ducks in the region were down 14 percent from the 2017 estimate but remained 28 percent above the long-term average.

“Summer was warmer and drier than average across southern and central Alberta, but carryover water from the spring runoff and localized rainfall helped maintain semipermanent wetland habitats,” reports DU Canada biologist Ian McFarlane. “Although waterfowl breeding efforts were delayed by cool spring weather, good numbers of broods were observed in many areas.” …

In the western United States, wetland conditions were variable as some areas have improved while others continue to suffer drought conditions. In California, total ducks were up 39 percent compared to the 2017 estimate and were near the long-term average. In Oregon and Washington, duck populations were up 23 percent and 16 percent, respectively, and were above the long-term average in both states.  

California’s waterfowl seasons will get started in early- to mid-October. Check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s waterfowl regulations page for more information.