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Lake life

December ducks

The numbers are in from the December Waterfowl study conducted by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds. There are lots of ducks in Louisiana and with recent rains, they aren’t as concentrated in some areas as they were. However, the survey was completed just prior to the recent cold front, that may have pushed more birds in from the north. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • December’s estimate of 2.06 million ducks is a 41 percent increase over November’s 1.46 million, but 15 percent lower than last year’s 2.42 million.
  • The count is 10 percent lower than the most recent five-year December average of 2.3 million and 23 mallardspercent below the long-term average of 2.68 million.
  • Despite Thanksgiving week’s first freeze of the season, weather along the Mississippi and Central flyways has been milder than normal.
  • Except for pintails, estimates for all species were similar or higher than November, with the biggest increases seen for ringnecked ducks, scaup, mallards and canvasbacks. The estimate for pintails fell from 303,000 to 219,000 despite a big increase at Catahoula Lake because of declines in both southwest and southeast portions of coastal Louisiana.
  • Catahoula Lake’s overall count was more than double the previous month because of large increases in all species, especially canvasbacks and ring-necked ducks. Large concentrations of pintails were seen on the shallow-flooded edges.


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