Annual Report 2007-2008 - 12

bers of waterfowl observed in the state, but totals there were down 32 percent from 2007. Northwestern Pennsylvania totals were up 16 percent from 2007, while Susquehanna River totals were down 21 percent. From April 15 to May 5, 2008, PGC staff completed the cooperative Atlantic Flyway Breeding Waterfowl Survey in Pennsylvania. The objective of the survey is to provide breeding waterfowl population estimates for the portion of the Atlantic Flyway from Virginia to New Hamp2007-08 shire. Population estimates are used in the Atlantic Flyway Adaptive Harvest Management process to determine waterfowl hunting season frameworks. Mallard and American black duck breeding pair estimates were significantly below average, while wood duck and Canada goose estimates were similar to average. The number of indicated mallard breeding pairs (65,739) was the lowest since 1992 and 33 percent below the average of 97,624 pairs. This is consistent with trends from other indices of statewide mallard abundance (the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and the number of preseason-banded mallards). The trends from all three indices indicate declines in breeding mallard abundance in PA since the late 1990s. As usual, southeastern Pennsylvania had the highest density of breeding mallards, while northeastern Pennsylvania had the next highest. Only one pair of American black ducks was observed on a survey plot in southeastern Pennsylvania and resulted in a statewide estimate of 269 pairs. Black ducks have been observed at very low densities since the survey was initiated in 1989. Breeding black ducks in Pennsylvania are increasingly rare and a cause for concern. There were 42,791 wood duck breeding pairs estimated in 2008, more than 16 percent below the average of 51,191 pairs and the lowest recorded since 1996. However, the 2008 estimate was not significantly below average and could be a result of expected sampling variation. Trends in wood duck abundance have indicated stable to slightly increasing populations across all years of the survey. Wood duck densities were highest in northeastern and northwestern Pennsylvania. The estimate of total blue-winged teal (1,840) and green-winged teal numbers (1,979) were below average in 2008. Teal migrate relatively late compared with the other species encountered on this survey, so these estimates are not necessarily indicative of true breeding populations in Pennsylvania. Estimates of hooded mergansers (3,031) were near average, while the common merganser estimate (18,773) was above average. The trends for both breeding merganser species appear stable since 1993. Canada goose breeding pairs were estimated at 100,174 and similar to the average of 91,328. Pairs were most abundant in southeastern and northwestern Pennsylvania. The total population estimate of 246,499 geese was similar to the recent 5-year average of 285,244. As expected, the highest densities of geese were observed in southeastern and northwestern portions of Pennsylvania. The recent trend in Canada goose estimates appears stable following rapid growth during the 1990s. Projects and programs conducted by the PGC’s Wildlife Diversity staff are largely directed at the conservation of nongame species through the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan. This plan was developed in response to a federal mandate to guarantee future State Wildlife Grant (SWG) Program funds for the many species that were formerly “under the radar” because limited resources were available for those not hunted or trapped. SWG funds are intended to proactively manage wildlife populations, instead of waiting until declining species require crisis care to resuscitate their populations. 12 GAME NEWS

Annual Report 2007-2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Annual Report 2007-2008

Annual Report 2007-2008 - 1
Annual Report 2007-2008 - 2
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