Early Start Expected in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Written by Sarah Yates
Friday, May 01, 2015

Sarah YatesLooks like surveys will be starting earlier than usual this year in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Kevin Fox and his observer John Bidwell picked up N728 on April 26th and headed west on the 27th. Kevin has volunteered to fly the survey this year while I prepare for the arrival of a baby girl in early June. Kevin is the Regional Aviation Manager/Pilot out of Region 7- Alaska. He has helped the Branch of Migratory Bird Surveys in the past with the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey and has an enormous amount of experience flying with the FWS. We lucked out when he offered to fly this year and lucked out a second time when John Bidwell offered to return as observer as well. He’s flown this crew area the past two years with me (and also flew it as PIC in the 90’s) and he’ll be a great resource for Kevin in 2015. According to ground crew leader Marc Schuster, a May 6th start date would be preferable if the weather allows. This gives Kevin and John plenty of time to settle in and prepare for the survey. Southern Manitoba had average temperatures this winter and below average precipitation. Habitat should be a lot drier this year in some areas compared with the major flooding we saw during the 2014 season. Here’s to a safe and successful 2015 survey for Kevin and John!

Kevin Fox and John Bidwell get ready to depart for southern Manitoba.

Kevin Fox (left) and John Bidwell get ready to depart for southern Manitoba. Photo by Sarah Yates, US FWS