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Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results for 2019 Announced

Annual Survey Counts Maryland’s Ducks, Geese and Swans

Photo of Canada geeseIn early January, aerial survey teams of pilots and biologists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources made visual estimates of the ducks, geese and swans along most of the state’s Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River and Atlantic coast shorelines. This year, the teams counted about 566,300 waterfowl.

Maryland’s mid-winter waterfowl survey is part of an annual, nationwide effort to survey waterfowl on their wintering grounds to monitor local distribution and habitat affiliations. 

“In early January of each year, we fly the same survey routes over much of Maryland’s tidal shoreline and estimate waterfowl numbers by species,” Waterfowl Program Manager Josh Homyack said. “This information generates not only a snapshot of how waterfowl are using our waters in a given year, but also how that use has changed in the decades since the survey began in 1955.”

Overall, dabbling ducks were lower (64,400) than last winter while diving duck numbers (182,000) were very similar to last winter’s count. Survey teams also observed fewer Canada geese (250,200) than last year’s record count.

Observation teams noted that overall numbers of waterfowl were more difficult to count this year due to lack of snow and ice cover, which normally helps concentrate birds into smaller areas.

Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results 2015-2019

(figures rounded to the nearest hundred)

Species

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Mallard

50,000

41,800

45,300

64,300

39,000

Black Duck

30,900

19,200

25,500

38,300

17,200

Gadwall

5,100

3,200

11,200

3,100

4,800

Widgeon

2,200

500

1,400

700

1,200

G-W Teal

700

2,400

2,100

500

1,500

Shoveler

100

100

100

0

100

Pintail

1,800

2,600

2,300

1,100

600

Total Dabblers

90,800

69,800

87,900

108,000

64,400

Redhead

32,200

17,900

20,700

27,500

20,600

Canvasback

64,200

19,800

75,100

60,000

46,000

Scaup

55,600

91,800

138,800

45,300

72,100

Ring-neck

300

700

400

300

1,100

Goldeneye

600

1,100

700

100

100

Bufflehead

19,100

26,700

12,900

29,500

13,200

Ruddy Duck

20,000

88,000

35,000

24,500

28,900

Total Divers

192,000

246,000

283,600

187,200

182,000

Scoters

1,300

7,100

4,900

4,500

27,800

Long-tailed Duck

100

100

2,700

0

300

Mergansers

3,000

1,100

2,100

2,300

2,000

Total Ducks

287,200

324,000

381,200

302,000

276,500

Brant

900

1,000

900

400

900

Snow Goose

44,900

32,600

21,300

63,500

34,700

Canada Goose

504,700

293,800

394,700

641,000

250,200

Tundra Swan

17,800

11,200

14,500

16,400

4,000

Total Waterfowl

855,500

663,000

812,600

1,023,300

566,300

 

 


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