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Surveys of duck numbers show overall increases in bird populations but a decline in numbers of waterfowl hunters.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey released last week showed most duck species numbers hold well above long-term averages. An abundance of moisture last spring was bad for wild turkeys but ideal for ducks.

Of 10 popular species studied, seven matched last year’s numbers, including mallards. Most saw an increase of 23 to 36 percent, with only scaup and blue-winged teal below their long-term averages.

While averages remain high, a drop in hunter numbers is not great news for the ducks. In fact, experts see a correlation between bird numbers and purchases of federal duck stamps that contribute to waterfowl management efforts.

A Wildlife Society Bulletin showed that decreased sales of duck stamps this year could result in millions lost for vital land management programs and conservation projects. The 2013-2014 stamp cost remains at $15 and can be purchased at most U.S. Post Offices or on line at fws.gov/duckstamps.

For a species-by-species breakdown of duck numbers, go to ducks.org/2013ducknumbers.

Managing lands, pests

Four workshops are planned to help landowners and land managers/users in selecting plants and reducing pesky plant and insect plants with minimal damage to the environment.

A Department of Environmental Conservation free workshop will be offered Aug. 2 in the Wick Center at Daemen College. Instruction goes from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on how to identify and to test soils to determine the best options for plantings.

Attendees will learn pesticide alternatives, including organic methods, which will provide better protection for the environment and humans.

For registration details, call (518) 402-8651 or go to dec.ny.gov/chemical/92163.

Mounts deadline

Friday is the deadline to enter your taxidermy mounts for competition and display in the Conservation Building at the Erie County Fair. Entrants receive fair tickets and winners get good prize money and ribbons. For entry details, call 655-0975 or go to ecfair.org.

email: odrswill@gmail.com