Results of the 2011 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey have been released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 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).
Experts attribute the decline 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.
Canada goose populations remained high, partly due to additional numbers of geese that were 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.
The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually throughout the United States since the early 1950s.
source: MD DNR