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Written by Nick Wirwa
Monday, June 09, 2014

Photo of Nick Wirwa.Many of us that assist in conducting these waterfowl breeding surveys hold “other” jobs the 11 other months out of the year. Many of us have jobs generally related to waterfowl at a National Wildlife Refuge or with the Migratory Bird Program. As for me, I ensure that waterfowl have habitat and food during spring and fall migration and throughout the winter. I love the rewarding feeling I get when temperatures cool down in the fall (for Louisiana that may be late November) and see 50,000 ducks and geese utilizing the habitat that I and other staff have been working so hard to produce and provide throughout the summer. As I am currently about to board a commercial flight, I will be heading back down south to pick back up where I left off with my “normal” duties. I will be jumping back in well into the growing season. I will continue dewatering the waterfowl impoundments to produce natural food and working with the cooperative farmer to produce crops to provide higher energy food to sustain the waterfowl through December and January. I probably speak for many of us on this survey team and say that it is difficult leaving our work duties back at our home station and our families for a month-plus and travel to Canada (and surrounding areas) to fly over 10,000 miles of terrain to count breeding waterfowl. But I also speak for everyone and say this is the most rewarding and exciting job that I think one could have.

The last days of our surveys, the landscape is beginning to really green up.

The last days of our surveys, the landscape is beginning to really green up. Photo by Nick Wirwa, USFWS