Breeding Duck Numbers At or Below Average in Minnesota

Spring waterfowl population counts by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provide data that the DNR uses to produce population estimates. This year, the estimates are average or below-average for several species of waterfowl that nest in Minnesota. The 2022 breeding population estimates are:

  • Mallards – 231,000, which is 19% below the 2019 estimate and unchanged from the long-term average
  • Blue-winged teal – 161,000, which is 28% below the 2019 estimate and 24% below the long-term average
  • Other ducks, excluding scaup, (such as ring-necked ducks, wood ducks, gadwalls, northern shovelers, canvasbacks, redheads and buffleheads), 175,000 which is 6% below the 2019 estimate and 3% below the long-term average
  • Total breeding duck abundance (excluding scaup) – 567,000, which is 18% below the 2019 estimate and 9% below the long-term average
  • Canada geese – 115,000, which is similar to the 2019 estimate and 27% below the long-term average.
  • Trumpeter swans – 25,000, which is a new record high for the population (survey methods for swans differs and a long-term average is not available). 

Overall, it was a very late spring across the state, especially in the north. It is likely that some blue-winged teal, a species that migrates relatively late in the spring, were still south of Minnesota when the survey began. As a result of the late spring, nesting effort and the number of young produced is expected to be below average for both ducks and Canada geese.

Learn more about waterfowl in Minnesota:


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