Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results Released
Annual Survey Estimates Number of Dabblers, Divers, Ducks & Waterfowl
Each winter, aerial survey teams of pilots and biologists from Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service make visual estimates of the ducks, geese and swans along the state’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast. This year, the teams counted about 812,600 waterfowl, higher than the 663,000 birds observed during 2016 and similar to the five-year average of 795,240.
Biologists attribute much of the year-to-year variation to weather conditions.
“An early December cold snap throughout the East likely moved large numbers of waterfowl, diving ducks in particular, south to Maryland waters,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto.
Overall, dabbling ducks were similar (87,900) to last winter (69,800). Diving duck numbers (283,600) were higher when compared to last winter (246,000). Survey teams also observed more scaup (138,800) and canvasbacks (75,100) in 2017 compared to counts of 91,800 and 19,800 respectively last year. The Canada Goose count (394,700) was higher than 2016 (293,800) but below the five year average.
The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually since the early 1950s. The Maryland survey results (see below) are ultimately pooled to provide a measure of the distributional changes and long-term trends of waterfowl wintering in the Atlantic Flyway. To learn more about the survey, please watch the February 2017 edition of AccessDNR.
Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results, 2013 – 2017
(Figures rounded to the nearest hundred)