Climate change affecting duck migration

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - Mark Twain once said, "Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get." That may be true, but a changing climate leads to different weather which can affect many things. In this case, Arkansas' duck population.

Dr. Jim Bednarz, professor of Wildlife Ecology at Arkansas State University conducted research on this very topic and what he found may surprise you.

Dr. Bednarz said, "We found significant increases in waterfowl populations in the northern part of the flyway and significant decreases of waterfowl especially Mallards in the southern part of the flyway."

Climate change is moving the ducks away from Region 8 according to Dr. Bednarz. "This seems to be highly related to increasing temperatures. The ducks are shifting to the north. So there is fewer ducks wintering in places like Arkansas and Mississippi."

However, Dennis Noell of DNW Outdoors in Jonesboro said the duck population this year looks good.

Noell said, "We've got a good population of ducks already here right now. I've talked to some people from Louisiana, they open up this weekend. They've got good populations of ducks right now."

The weather to the north of Arkansas could play a role in the migration of ducks coming further south. Fewer ducks mean fewer hunters, which could hurt the economy in Arkansas.

Dr. Bednarz said, "In literally a few decades we could lose tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in positive economic impact."

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