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March 7, 2014

1

Maryland’s Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results Announced

by kking
Thousands of waterfowl in an open field

Waterfowl Areal Survey

Each winter, aerial survey teams of pilots and biologists from The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources make visual estimates of ducks, swans and geese along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast. This year the teams witnessed more than 905,000 waterfowl, 22 percent higher than those observed in January 2013 (739,600).

Biologists attribute the higher count to the fact many species flocked to Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay due to severe winter conditions to the north. Additionally, large areas of the Bay and tributaries were ice covered during the survey period, concentrating waterfowl in ice-free, open waters where they were more easily counted.

The survey estimates for mallards, black ducks and canvasbacks were the highest they have been since the mid-1970s. Overall, dabbling ducks were more abundant this time around (128,000) compared to last winter (72,800). There were nearly twice as many diving ducks this survey (190,300) over last year (98,100). The canvasback count (68,400) was the highest since the mid-1960s, and far greater than the January 2013 estimate (18,400).  

Survey teams also observed large numbers of wintering Canada geese (512,100) along the upper Chesapeake Bay. The extensive snow and ice in northern latitudes pushed large numbers of geese south to the Chesapeake from their normal wintering areas in southern Ontario and the Finger Lakes region of New   York.   

The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually throughout the United States since the early 1950s. The Maryland survey results (see chart below) are ultimately pooled with other states’ results to provide a measure of the distribution and population size of waterfowl wintering in the Atlantic Flyway, as well as information on long-term trends. The final Midwinter Waterfowl Survey numbers for other Atlantic flyway states may be viewed here.

Keep up to date with DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.

 

January Midwinter Waterfowl Survey for Maryland, 2010 – 2014

Species

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Mallard

34,200

55,100

57,400

33,100

75,900

Black Duck

22,500

23,000

27,700

22,500

39,300

Gadwall

2,000

6,400

5,000

7,400

4,000

Widgeon

300

200

1,400

500

800

G-W Teal

600

600

3,700

6,300

3,900

Shoveler

100

100

200

1,700

100

Pintail

500

1,200

1,200

1,300

4,000

Total Dabblers

60,100

86,600

96,600

72,800

128,000

Redhead

3,400

4,700

4,500

16,700

15,900

Canvasback

26,400

46,100

14,300

18,400

68,400

Scaup

43,500

37,100

69,200

27,500

47,100

Ring-neck

900

1,600

1,300

1,900

1,600

Goldeneye

600

300

900

800

1,500

Bufflehead

13,700

7,800

19,800

15,600

21,800

Ruddy Duck

13,400

17,500

15,300

17,200

34,000

Total Divers

102,000

115,100

125,300

98,100

190,300

Scoters

900

200

5,100

2,000

7,600

Long-tailed Duck

200

300

800

600

200

Mergansers

10,600

7,800

2,800

2,000

6,200

Total Ducks

173,700

210,000

230,600

175,500

332,400

Brant

1,000

1,500

500

1,500

600

Snow Goose

78,600

28,200

43,400

83,300

44,200

Canada Goose

519,500

397,700

342,600

462,000

512,100

Tundra Swan

14,000

14,400

16,600

17,300

16,100

Total Waterfowl

787,100

651,800

633,700

739,600

905,500

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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    1 Comment Post a comment
    1. Mar 7 2014

      Nice work, but it would be more readable with more contrast between the font color and the background.

      Reply

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