Job Completion Report.
Kiel, W.H., Jr.
Aerial inventories were flown along the Texas Coast in October, November, December, and January. Population levels were much lower than in past seasons. The October inventory was not flown until just prior to opening of the hunting season in order that the influence of hunting pressure on population movements and concentration sites could be determined. In the season just past, gun pressure could not be determined to be a factor in waterfowl movements as the population distribution previous to the hunting season was unbalanced to the extent of 77% on the lower coast and only 23% on the total count was on the upper half of the coast. The trend for ducks to move to the lower portion of the coast has continued unbroken for the past six years. Total annual precipitation for 1955 was only 4.36 inches below the 30-year mean (Houston station), but was 9.88 inches below normal for the last four months of 1955, which is a critical period for holding winter waterfowl on the upper portion of the coast. Fresh surface water was abundant on the lower coast, and the birds moved to this water. The upper half of the coast opened with reduced carrying capacity, resulting from a scarcity of fresh water only, while the carrying capacity of the lower coast was improved over past seasons. Prairie potholes of the southern portion of the coast were filled to capacity with fresh water during the hurricane action of July and August, and retained this water throughout the season, thus creating an extensive population distribution and increasing inventory difficulties.