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February 5, 2013

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2013 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results Are In

by Martha
Waterfowl Areal Survey

Waterfowl Areal Survey

Each winter, during the first weeks of January, pilots and biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) count ducks, geese and swans along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast. This year survey teams saw an overall increase in the total number of waterfowl compared to last year. Crews counted more Canada geese and snow geese but observed fewer ducks, compared to 2012.  

The total number of ducks observed during the survey was 175,500, lower than the 230,600 counted in 2012. The dabbling duck count of 72,800 was below the 96,600 counted in 2012.  Most of the decline in dabbling ducks can be attributed to fewer mallards being observed.

The total number of diving ducks observed was 98,100, also lower than the 125,300 counted last winter. The scaup count was one of the lowest in recent history. Unseasonably mild winter weather during the weeks leading up to the survey resulted in a delay in the arrival of most diving ducks in the Bay, especially scaup.

Canada geese (462,000) and snow geese (83,300) were noticeably more abundant during this year’s survey compared to 2012.  Improved gosling production in 2012 contributed to higher goose numbers, combined with snow cover in New York and southern Canada that encouraged geese to migrate further south into the Bay region in late December.

The survey was conducted the week of January 6, 2013 throughout the Atlantic Flyway and is used as an index of long-term wintering waterfowl trends, especially for brant and tundra swans. The Atlantic Flyway is a bird migration route that generally follows the Atlantic Coast of North America and the Appalachian Mountains. In Maryland, the survey is conducted by four aerial survey teams that make visual estimates of wintering waterfowl that are observed in coastal and tidewater habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Complete survey results (Rounded to the nearest hundred):

Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results –  2009-2013

Species

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Mallard

58,300

34,200

55,100

57,400

33,100

Black Duck

24,900

22,500

23,000

27,700

22,500

Gadwall

2,800

2,000

6,400

5,000

7,400

Wigeon

500

300

200

1,400

500

G-W Teal

1,400

600

600

3,700

6,300

Shoveler

400

100

100

200

1,700

Pintail

800

500

1,200

1,200

1,300

Total Dabblers

89,000

60,100

86,600

96,600

72,800

Redhead

12,400

3,400

4,700

4,500

16,700

Canvasback

51,300

26,400

46,100

14,300

18,400

Scaup

51,600

43,500

37,100

69,200

27,500

Ring-neck

1,700

900

1,600

1,300

1,900

Goldeneye

1,000

600

300

900

800

Bufflehead

15,900

13,700

7,800

19,800

15,600

Ruddy Duck

23,600

13,400

17,500

15,300

17,200

Total Divers

157,600

102,000

115,100

125,300

98,100

Scoters

2,900

900

200

5,100

2,000

Long-tailed Duck

400

200

300

800

600

Mergansers

8,900

10,600

7,800

2,800

2,000

Total Ducks

261,000

173,700

210,000

230,600

175,500

Brant

800

1,000

1,500

500

1,500

Snow Goose

61,200

78,600

28,200

43,400

83,300

Canada Goose

498,200

519,500

397,700

342,600

462,000

Tundra Swan

14,200

14,000

14,400

16,600

17,300

Total Waterfowl

836,900

787,100

651,800

633,700

739,600

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    1 Comment Post a comment
    1. ray harner
      Feb 12 2013

      With another mild winter, (2012-2013), maybe we should consider going back to a four duck bag limit!

      Reply

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