Preparations Underway for Southern Ontario Survey

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Written by Thom Lewis
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thom LewisIt’s that time of year again. Preparation for the Aerial Waterfowl Breeding Ground Population and Habitat Survey is well under way. I am a Wildlife Biologist/Pilot Trainee with the USFWS Migratory Bird Surveys Branch and will be reporting for the Southern Ontario Survey Area this year. I’ll be flying right seat again this year, but this will be my first year in this survey area, which includes portions of Northern New York, Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec. The pilot/observer John Rayfield has flown the area before and I look forward to learning from his experience. We have completed much of our planning and should be flying by the second week of May.

I’ve been checking the Internet and the survey area experienced a winter that for the most part had normal to slightly cooler than normal temperatures. Precipitation has been variable with drier conditions in the southwestern portions, but normal to wet conditions across most of the rest of the survey area. I’ve heard reports that spring is late in many areas of Canada, but currently all the snow in our survey area has melted. If conditions persist and the birds show up on time, I would expect an average year for this survey area, but things can change in a hurry. So stand by for my next report once we start the survey and see what is happening on the ground.