News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Announces 2010 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results

Annapolis, MD (March 8, 2010) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have released the results of the 2010 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 2010, the survey teams observed 787,100 waterfowl, slightly lower than the number of waterfowl observed in January 2009.

“When pooled with results from other states, the Midwinter Waterfowl Survey provides a long-term measure of the distribution and population size of most waterfowl species wintering in the Atlantic Flyway,” said Larry Hindman, DNR Waterfowl Project Leader.

The number of mallards counted in this year’s survey (34,200) was significantly lower than 2009 (58,300). The black duck count (22,500) slightly declined from last winter, when 24,900 were counted.
“Extensive ice coverage of Chesapeake Bay waters, rivers and estuarine marshes led to reduced open water and lower numbers for several duck species this year," Hindman said.

Overall, fewer diving ducks were counted (102,000) in 2010 than last winter (157,600). Most of this decline can be attributed to the lower numbers of redheads, canvasbacks, scaup and ruddy ducks observed. Extensive ice in the Chester River prevented diving duck use of this major wintering area favored by canvasbacks and scaup. Other environmental factors that influence the number of canvasbacks and other divers in the Chesapeake Bay are the conditions of the staging areas on the upper Mississippi River and Lake St. Claire in southern Ontario. Above average numbers of canvasbacks were recorded on surveys of those areas this year.

There was a slight increase in number of Canada geese counted by the survey crews. Despite a poor nesting season, wintering Canada geese (519,500) remained high and were likely bolstered by migrant geese pushed south by cold temperatures and snow north of Maryland.

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 populations and is the only source of population estimates for important species such as Atlantic brant and tundra swans.
 

Species

2006

2007

2008

2009

 

2010

Mallard

 32,500

39,700

55,500

58,300

34,200

Black Duck

 13,300

13,800

23,000

24,900

22,500

Gadwall

1,200

  1,400

3,000

2,800

2,000

Widgeon

300

    400

800

500

300

G-W Teal

400

3,300

4,600

1,400

600

Shoveler

-- 

  100

600

400

100

Pintail

2,500

   500

2,000

800

500

Total Dabblers

50,300

59,200

89,500

89,000

60,100

Redhead

 1,800

1,100

11,900

12,400

3,400

Canvasback

 33,800

13,700

40,100

51,300

26,400

Scaup

 79,500

25,700

140,000

51,600

43,500

Ring-neck

     500

    900

2,100

1,700

900

Goldeneye

     700

    700

800

1,000

600

Bufflehead

 11,800

12,000

18,400

15,900

13,700

Ruddy Duck

 12,100

19,800

19,700

23,600

13,400

Total Divers

140,200

73,900

233,000

157,600

102,000

Scoters

10,000

  2,100

2,900

2,900

900

Long-tailed Duck

700

500

400

400

200

Mergansers

7,000

1,700

4,300

8,900

10,600

Total Ducks

208,400

137,400

330,100

261,000

173,700

Brant

2,400

500

1,400

800

1,000

Snow Goose

49,200

46,600

108,000

61,200

78,600

Canada Goose

305,400

285,700

373,100

498,200

519,500

Tundra Swan

8,200

8,700

11,700

14,200

14,000

Total Waterfowl

577,100

478,900

821,500

836,900

787,100

 


   March 8, 2010

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 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 12 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