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2012 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results Are In

Annapolis, Md. (February 28, 2012) — Each winter, during the first week 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 the survey teams counted 633,700 waterfowl, which is slightly lower than the number of waterfowl observed during that time last year (651,800).

“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 size 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 to provide information on the population size for important waterfowl species like black ducks, Atlantic brant and tundra swans.”

Despite the unusually mild weather this year, the number of recorded waterfowl was only slightly lower than last winter. Overall, higher numbers of diving ducks were counted in 2012 (125,300) compared to last winter (115,100), mainly attributed to larger numbers of scaup. In contrast, the canvasback totals this year (14,300) were much lower than last winter (46,100) and were the second lowest ever recorded.

“The decline in canvasbacks was likely related to the mild winter weather in the eastern half of the United States,” said Hindman. “However, they did arrive in the Chesapeake in greater numbers after the survey was completed.”

Survey teams counted slightly fewer Canada geese (342,600) along bay shoreline habitats compared to last year (397,700). Mild temperatures, an abundance of open water and a lack of snow in the northern portion of the Atlantic flyway caused a delay in goose migration and contributed to lower numbers of wintering Canada geese in Maryland. However, like canvasbacks, substantial numbers of Canada geese arrived in Maryland after the survey was done.

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. Maryland’s survey data is noted below.

Species

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Mallard

55,500

58,300

34,200

55,100

57,400

Black Duck

23,000

24,900

22,500

23,000

27,700

Gadwall

3,000

2,800

2,000

6,400

5,000

Widgeon

800

500

300

200

1,400

G-W Teal

4,600

1,400

600

600

3,700

Shoveler

600

400

100

100

200

Pintail

2,000

800

500

1,200

1,200

Total Dabblers

89,500

89,000

60,100

86,600

96,600

Redhead

11,900

12,400

3,400

4,700

4,500

Canvasback

40,100

51,300

26,400

46,100

14,300

Scaup

140,000

51,600

43,500

37,100

69,200

Ring-neck

2,100

1,700

900

1,600

1,300

Goldeneye

800

1,000

600

300

900

Bufflehead

18,400

15,900

13,700

7,800

19,800

Ruddy Duck

19,700

23,600

13,400

17,500

15,300

Total Divers

233,000

157,600

102,000

115,100

125,300

Scoters

2,900

2,900

900

200

5,100

Long-tailed Duck

400

400

200

300

800

Mergansers

4,300

8,900

10,600

7,800

2,800

Total Ducks

330,100

261,000

173,700

210,000

230,600

Brant

1,400

800

1,000

1,500

500

Snow Goose

108,000

61,200

78,600

28,200

43,400

Canada Goose

373,100

498,200

519,500

397,700

342,600

Tundra Swan

11,700

14,200

14,000

14,400

16,600

Total Waterfowl

821,500

836,900

787,100

651,800

633,700

 


   February 28, 2012

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. 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