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story.lead_photo.caption A large group of mallards — both Susies and greenheads — looks for a landing spot in a flooded rice field near Stuttgart in this Nov. 21, 2012 file photo. - Photo by James K. Joslin

A survey says the numbers of ducks in parts of Arkansas are down from the five-year average.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists conducted aerial waterfowl surveys in the state's Delta region, the Arkansas River Valley and southwestern Arkansas. The duck population index in the Delta was more than 830,000 ducks. This is about half of the 2009-2013 average for the December survey. The mallard population estimate was about 475,000.

In the Arkansas River Valley, the estimated total duck count was 29,000 ducks, including more than 15,000 mallards, and the southwestern Arkansas count was about 29,000 ducks, including more than 10,000 mallards.

Luke Naylor is the AGFC waterfowl program coordinator. Naylor said the below-average population in the Delta shows that cold weather and habitat conditions play a major role in Arkansas duck numbers.

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