Ducks Unlimited’s three-year survey of duck numbers throughout the country shows the drought conditions in California have affected the numbers.
With so many species in the minus range, it’s easy to understand that in the Pacific Flyway, California birds are struggling. Here’s more from DU’s report:
The most striking report regarding habitat conditions in the Pacific Flyway came from California and the Intermountain West. This region is in the third consecutive year of drought, and habitat conditions across much of the West have continued to deteriorate. As noted by Dr. Mark Petrie, DU’s director of conservation planning in the Western Region, “Many areas in the Pacific Flyway are experiencing the worst drought since 800 A.D., and although duck production in Washington and Oregon should be about average, the same isn’t true for California. The mallard estimate there was 46 percent below average, and with severe curtailment of water supplies for rice and managed wetlands this summer, we expect little local production from California.” That is a significant loss for the state’s waterfowlers, because approximately 60 percent of California’s mallard harvest is derived from locally produced birds.