MEMPHIS Waterfowl enthusiasts should expect an impressive though diminished fall flight this autumn.
Based on observations by conservation organizations in the field and surveys by U.S. and Canadian federal governments, habitat conditions varied throughout the breeding grounds. That will also cause regional variation in the fall flight.
Many breeding grounds were plagued with drought, particularly in western Canada, while eastern areas enjoyed good to excellent habitat conditions.
In Kansas and much of the Central Flyway, birds are typically produced in areas that received good amounts of rainfall.
The Central Flyway which includes Kansas receives most of its waterfowl from the Prairie Pothole Region in southcentral Canada and the northcentral U.S., as well as from the western boreal forest and the central Canadian subarctic.
According to experts in the field, the Dakotas had excellent waterfowl production and will help offset the poorer production to the west.
Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service no longer releases a fall flight estimate for total ducks, the Service will continue to estimate the mid-continent fall flight of mallards.
This year, that estimate is 10.5 million birds, slightly lower than the 2000 estimate of 11.2 million mallards.