California waterfowl population increasing, according to latest survey

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently released some good news in regards to waterfowl population. After a three-year decline in both mallard and total duck species, the most recent 2016 survey found that both categories were up, hopefully signifying a new trend within the state.

“The late, abundant spring rains were a real boost to the habitat this year,” noted Melanie Weaver, a CDFW waterfowl biologist who participated in the survey. “We expect good production and a larger fall flight this year because of it.”

Some other numbers of note include:

  • The total breeding population of ducks in surveyed areas of California for 2016 is estimated at 417,791, up 24.5% from 2015.
  • The estimated breeding population of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) is 263,774, up 51.7% from 2015. Mallards remain below their long-term average by 31.6%.
  • The estimate for gadwall (A.strepera) is 58,379, a similar estimate to 2015 but is still 46.4% below their long-term average.
  • The 2016 estimate for cinnamon teal (A. cyanoptera) is 30,221, up 6% from 2015 but is 40.5% below their long-term average.
  • The estimated Canada goose (Branta canadensis) population from the historic breeding range in northeastern California is 44,323, an estimate similar to 2015. The Northeastern Canada goose population is 4% below their long term average.