DOINews: USFWS: Annual Spring Waterfowl Survey Takes Flight

Last edited 09/05/2019
Rainfall has meant more water for the basins in South Dakota. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS.

Every spring and summer for the past 50 years, teams of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilot-biologists have taken to the skies to survey North America's waterfowl breeding grounds. Crisscrossing the country just above the treetops, they and observers on the ground record the number of ducks, geese and swans, and assess the quality and quantity of waterfowl breeding habitats. From the wide-open bays and wetlands of the eastern shores of North America to some of the most remote regions of Canada and Alaska, they are documenting an important part of our wild heritage.

This year, as the 2014 Spring Waterfowl Survey takes flight,the initial view from 150 feet in the air above eastern South Dakota is a good one. The first of a dozen crews stationed throughout Canada and the northern United States took off May 4 out of Pierre, S.D., and recent rains reveal a stark contrast to last year's dry conditions. The other air crews and their associated ground crews are expected to begin surveying their areas soon. As in the past, you can look to the Pilot Biologist Reports for daily updates and images revealing what they are observing as they survey waterfowl breeding grounds.

The survey, a cooperative effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and state, provincial, and tribal agencies, currently covers more than 2.1 million square miles of the northern United States and Canada, and includes most of the primary duck nesting areas in North America.

By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

May 7, 2014

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment