Each winter, 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 as part of the Midwinter Waterfowl Survey.
During January of 2008, biologists observed a total of 821,500 waterfowl, which represents a substantial increase from counts during the mild winters of 2006 and 2007.
“When pooled with results from other states, the Midwinter Waterfowl Survey provides a long-term measure of the distribution and population size of waterfowl species wintering in the Atlantic Flyway,” said Paul Peditto, Director of DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “More typical winter weather lead to higher numbers recorded for several species this year.”
The most notable increase was large numbers of mallards and blackducks. Other increased populations included redheads, scaup and canvasbacks.
The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey is conducted at the same time each winter in every state in the Atlantic Flyway, from Maine to Florida. Most of the Maryland’s tidewater waterfowl habitats were surveyed between January 4 and 10, but Bloodsworth and South Marsh Islands were not completed until January 23.
source: MD-DNR press release