News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Announces 2011 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results

Annapolis, Md. (March 17, 2011) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have released the results of the 2011 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey. Each winter, pilots and biologists from the two agencies count ducks, geese and swans along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast. In January 2011, survey teams observed 640,700 waterfowl which is lower than the number of waterfowl observed in January 2010 (787,100).

“It is important to remember that the Maryland survey results are ultimately pooled with results from other states to provide a measure of the distribution and population of waterfowl wintering in the Atlantic Flyway,” said Larry Hindman, DNR’s Waterfowl Project Leader. “The survey is conducted in a coordinated manner across the Atlantic Flyway states to provide an annual index of the population size for important waterfowl species like black ducks, Atlantic brant and tundra swans.”

This decline is largely due to the observance of fewer Canada geese and snow geese along bay shoreline habitats. Large numbers of geese likely went undetected at inland locations, which are not covered by the survey. However, wintering Canada geese (397,700) remained high and their numbers were bolstered by geese pushed south by the cold temperatures and heavy snow cover in areas north of Maryland.

Overall, greater numbers of ducks were counted in 2011 (199,300) than last winter (173,700), mainly attributed to higher numbers of mallards (55,600) and canvasbacks (43,600). In addition, exceptional numbers of gadwalls were observed on the submerged aquatic vegetation beds on the Susquehanna Flats.

“Cold weather and the associated heavy snow and ice north of Maryland contributed to higher duck numbers in the Chesapeake," Hindman said.

The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually throughout the United States since the early 1950s. The survey provides information on long-term trends in waterfowl.

 

Species

2007

2008

2009

 

2010

2011

Mallard

39,700

55,500

58,300

34,200

55,600

Black Duck

13,800

23,000

24,900

22,500

22,900

Gadwall

  1,400

3,000

2,800

2,000

6,400

Wigeon

    400

800

500

300

200

G-W Teal

3,300

4,600

1,400

600

600

Shoveler

  100

600

400

100

100

Pintail

   500

2,000

800

500

1,200

Total Dabblers

59,200

89,500

89,000

60,100

87,000

Redhead

1,100

11,900

12,400

3,400

4,700

Canvasback

13,700

40,100

51,300

26,400

43,600

Scaup

25,700

140,000

51,600

43,500

29,700

Ring-neck

    900

2,100

1,700

900

1,600

Goldeneye

    700

800

1,000

600

300

Bufflehead

12,000

18,400

15,900

13,700

7,500

Ruddy Duck

19,800

19,700

23,600

13,400

16,500

Total Divers

73,900

233,000

157,600

102,000

103,900

Scoters

  2,100

2,900

2,900

900

200

Long-tailed Duck

500

400

400

200

400

Mergansers

1,700

4,300

8,900

10,600

7,700

Total Ducks

137,400

330,100

261,000

173,700

199,300

Brant

500

1,400

800

1,000

1,500

Snow Goose

46,600

108,000

61,200

78,600

28,200

Canada Goose

285,700

373,100

498,200

519,500

397,100

Tundra Swan

8,700

11,700

14,200

14,000

14,400

Total Waterfowl

478,900

821,500

836,900

787,100

640,700




   March 17, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov