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Annual Waterfowl Survey

Today a few of us from the Cattaraugus County Bird Club participated in the NYS DEC / NYSOA annual waterfowl survey. Each January a quarter of a million ducks across New York State are counted by bird clubs, state officials and your average birder. We are also participating in the Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey, where we are locating Eagles wintering along the Allegheny River. The results of these two surveys will help determine the long-term monitoring of waterfowl and Eagle populations within New York State during the winter months.

Canada Goose on Ice
Canada Goose with a cold wake up call.

Today was our target date and we could not have asked for a better January day to conduct these surveys. The river and streams were open due to the warmer temperatures that occurred this past week. Although last evening we were hit with a hard frost, we did encounter ice in most of the smaller lakes. The sun peaked through the clouds on numerous occasions and temperatures were low to mid ~30’s!

Common Merganser.
Common Merganser through the trees.

  2006 2007 2008
Bald Eagle 8 1 6
Pied-billed Grebe     1
Canada Goose 125 185 223
Mallard 89 96 99
Black Duck 7 3 5
Common Merganser 26 46 41
Hooded Merganser 2 3 9
Bufflehead 2    
Common Goldeneye   1  
Long-tailed Duck   1  
Total 259 336 384


We observed a total of 23 bird species with my highlights being a Coopers Hawk* chasing European Starlings, Eastern Bluebirds*, Cedar Waxwings*, Common Raven, Tree Sparrows, Pileated Woodpecker* and the Pied-billed Grebe* which we almost overlooked (thanks for finding Tim). Those birds which are starred were first for the year birds for me (CHECK)!

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20 responses

  1. CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK! Great Bald Eagle Year! What fun, Tom. Those temps are a little too chilly, though…

    13 January 2008 at 7:42 pm

  2. Lisa at Greenbow

    Looks like you had a good day of birding.

    13 January 2008 at 7:43 pm

  3. Tom

    Tom….I also went looking for waterfowl this weekend, but things seemed fairly light. Just black ducks, mallards and Canada geese. Great shot of the common merganser. It is amazing how long lenses can make the foreground almost invisible.


    13 January 2008 at 7:53 pm

  4. Keep up the good work. Y’all rock.

    13 January 2008 at 9:17 pm

  5. So this is what the people were doing in my area of Ontario on Thursday when I saw the eagles. I looked on the web for info on the waterfowl count, but didn’t find anything. I guess this is different from the Christmas bird count.

    13 January 2008 at 9:31 pm

  6. @ Mary – yep, it is that time of the year again!
    @ Lisa – sure was, thanks!
    @ Tom – telephoto sure does help sometimes but not always! Thanks!
    @ Lana – thanks
    @ Ruth – Eagle target day was the 10th were waterfowl is the 13th! We just do both at the same time! This is very different from the CBC! Thanks!

    13 January 2008 at 9:37 pm

  7. Very cool on the birdies you saw today and the numbers. What is with *all* of the geese though? There are soooo many of them around here!

    13 January 2008 at 9:41 pm

  8. I wonder if it is a good sign (population growth) or bad sign (climate change) that your totals have gone up every year. Sounds like a great day for birding, in any case.

    13 January 2008 at 9:46 pm

  9. Looks like a fine day out, but brrrrrrr! 🙂

    13 January 2008 at 10:24 pm

  10. today was a beautiful day
    do you think our warm temps will keep more birds here in the future?

    13 January 2008 at 10:54 pm

  11. Glad the weather cooperated. Looks as if y’all had a good count.

    14 January 2008 at 1:36 am

  12. What a great list of birds. My husband and I went looking for birds on Gull Point on Presque Isle. The only thing there was the two of us and a couple of seagulls. But it was so nice to be able to walk the beach without snow and ice (which is now on its way again.)

    14 January 2008 at 3:01 am

  13. Good for you, taking part in the Waterbird Survey. Pied-billed Grebe is a great bird! I hope the Coopers was able to get a few of those Starlings!

    14 January 2008 at 8:23 am

  14. You should check out Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Brigantine NJ in the winter – here’s what we saw yesterday:

    N. Shoveler, N. Pintail, Mallards and American Black Ducks (by the 100s)
    Bufflehead (15+)
    Ruddy Duck (3)
    Scaup sp. (100s)
    Green-winged Teal (25+)
    Canada Goose (25+)
    Brant (25+)
    Snow Goose (1000s, including 5 blue morph and 2 imm. blue morph)
    Tundra Swan (7)
    Common Merganser (5)
    Red-breasted Merganser (12+)
    Hooded Merganser (50+)
    Grebe sp (1 – most likely horned, based on recent sightings)
    Northern Harrier (5)
    Bald Eagle (2 – 1st year, 2nd year)
    Red-Tailed Hawk
    Sharp-Shinned Hawk
    Turkey Vulture (2)
    Great Blue Heron (12+)
    Red-winged Blackbird (9)
    American Robin (12+)
    Blue Jay, N. Mockingbird and Carolina Chickadee
    Dunlin (10+)
    Herring Gull (100s) and Greater Black-Backed Gull (12+)

    If you wanted to go, I’d be happy to show you around!


    14 January 2008 at 8:32 am

  15. I’m so glad you had a good day for the survey, Tom! Beautiful pictures ~ I especially love the one of the geese. SO pretty!

    14 January 2008 at 11:01 am

  16. @ Pam – thanks and could have been better!
    @ John – really need to look at more years than just these three! I am just too lazy to go through my notebook pulling out my numbers back to the 2000-2001 when I first started helping!
    @ Adam – it was a warm day for us!
    @ Toni – sure was and hard to say! Advantages and disadvantages on both sides!
    @ Marvin – thanks and was alright!
    @ Erie – Thanks and just gulls? Where did they all go? Bet it was nice to walk out and about!
    @ Vern – The Pied-billed Grebe was a great bird for here this time of the year! I didn’t see any evidence that they got any starlings! Although, tonight will have a little to do with starlings! Will be working on it after work tonight!
    @ Marty – I would love to go there although it isn’t an easy jump and skip there!
    @ Ladybug – thanks and I took a few others which are on flickr but I didn’t post on here!

    14 January 2008 at 12:21 pm

  17. Glad the weather cooperated with you Tom, looks like you did quite well, do you ever have time just to sit and gel ? 🙂

    14 January 2008 at 1:42 pm

  18. lvn600

    I’d like to see the Pied-billed Grebe for sure! -Was it a female-or is the “check” in the “male”? Good job in your participation.

    14 January 2008 at 9:01 pm

  19. pwrbrdr

    Sounds like a fun time!

    15 January 2008 at 6:21 pm

  20. Marg

    Sounds like a great day!

    15 January 2008 at 6:26 pm

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