Even though the ongoing drought won't suppress the swelling population of waterfowl this year, it will affect their migrations. Wetlands need to dry on occasion to remain productive, but the scale of this year's drought adds pressure to migrating birds. With fewer refuges and crops available there's less margin of error for flocks.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the duck population is up 7% from 2011 and that it's 43% above the average since 1955. Meanwhile, the number of ponds has dropped 32% from 2011 but is also still above the average.