Waterfowl status report, 1980.




U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


The Waterfowl Status Report, 1980, is a standard compilation of survey data provided by State, Federal, Mexican, and Canadian wildlife agencies. Specific survey information was derived from the 1979-80 midwinter waterfowl survey by flyway, the breeding waterfowl and habitat surveys for 1980 (United States and Canada), and the 1980 waterfowl harvest survey (United States) for the 1979-80 waterfowl hunting season. Winter surveys completed during December 1979 (mid- December goose count) and January 1980 (all species except geese surveyed in the December count) showed an increase for most species of geese and less-than-maximum counts for most duck species in the Pacific Flyway. Midwinter surveys in the Central Flyway revealed slight increases for ducks (5%) and increases ranging from 9 to 81% for geese. Mild weather in the Mississippi Flyway caused greater-than-normal dispersal of waterfowl from traditional wintering areas, resulting in declines in wintering totals for most species. Survey results in the Atlantic Flyway revealed the lowest count on record for American black ducks (Anas rubripes). Reduced counts recorded for mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and other species were probably the result of unseasonably mild weather, which created additional open-water areas and a dispersal of birds from traditional count zones. Weather during the 1980 breeding waterfowl and habitat surveys was warm and dry: Drought conditions existed in almost all prairie and parkland habitats. The May pond index in southern Canada, North Dakota, and South Dakota was 56% below that of 1979. With the decrease in quality habitat, duck breeding populations declined from the previous year by 6%; however, substantial increases in the 1980 duck population estimates were reported in Alaska and Minnesota with minor improvements in Colorado, northern Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The mallard estimate was 9% below that of the 1955-79 average. Scattered rainfall during late spring of 1980 did little to improve the poor prairie and parkland waterfowl habitat. By July, only 42% of May ponds remained in the southern portions of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The brood indices for the southern prairie Provinces, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana were lower than those of 1979, and the late-nesting index was 49% below average for all units combined. Waterfowl harvest survey estimates of the number of immatures per adult (age ratio) in the harvest during the 1979-80 hunting season were generally higher than those of the 1978-79 hunting season. The duck kill decreased slightly between the previous two hunting seasons, primarily as a result of mild weather in migration and wintering areas.


93 p.


surveys, waterfowl, geese, mallard duck, weather, habitat loss, habitat improvement, ponds, harvesting, hunting, migrations