Saturday, December 7, 2013
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Hunters in the waterfowl blinds this season can expect to see a fall flight similar to last year's.
Continental waterfowl populations are strong, and habitat conditions have been above average in the Canadian provinces where Idaho's birds are produced.
Mallards are by far the most abundant ducks in hunters' bags in Idaho. And more than 60 percent of the mallards harvested here come from Alberta, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alaska.
Despite a delayed spring over most of the survey area, habitat conditions during the 2013 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were improved or similar to last year in many areas because of average or above average annual precipitation.
The estimated mallard abundance was 10.4 million, similar to the 2012 estimate, which is 36 percent above the long-term average. Population estimates for wigeon, green-winged teal, gadwalls and common goldeneyes - also commonly taken in Idaho - were similar to or above 2012 estimates in 2013.
In the traditional survey area, the total duck population estimate was about 45.6 million birds - a 6 percent decrease from last year's estimate of about 48.6 million. But it is still 33 percent higher than the long-term average from 1955 through 2012.
The total duck estimates in: