Fish and Wildlife Service Monitors Gulf Oil Spill Very Closely

A mixed flock of ducks taking off from a wetland. Credit: Gary Kramer/USFWSWhile the spring waterfowl population survey results are expected to indicate that population sizes of most duck species and breeding habitat conditions are good this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remains "very concerned" about the impacts of of the gulf coast oil spill.

Video clip: See how it looks from the cockpit

Eastern and Northern Ontario
Written by Thom Lewis
Friday, May 14, 2010

Thom Lewis

I hope this video gives you a perspective of what we see while counting waterfowl on survey transect. We fly “low and slow” by aviation standards, but at 90 knots you have to be constantly scanning the survey area to locate, count and identify waterfowl within the transect boundary. We count all waterfowl within 200 meters on both sides of the plane. You will notice black stripes on the aircraft wing strut. We use a clinometer to set these marks as a guide to how far out we count when at survey altitude. At 150 feet above the ground, when you look out the window, the bottom strip corresponds to 100 meters and the top is set at 200 meters.

Waterfowl Community Mourns Loss of FWS Biologists

Ray Bentley

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilot biologist Ray Bentley, 52, and his observer David Pitkin, 49, were killed when their plane crashed into a forested area near Philomath, Oregon, on January 17. The two were participating in the annual midwinter waterfowl surveys when the accident occurred. Benton County sheriff's deputies say they found the wreckage of the Cessna after it failed to arrive in Corvallis, Oregon.

Learn to ID Waterfowl!

Mallard Taking Off

A new tool is now available to help you better identify waterfowl. Originally designed to help train volunteers and field staff, this tool also should be very helpful for hunters, bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. It contains written descriptions, photos, video clips, and range maps of North American ducks.

View Duck ID

Videos Provide Insight into Adaptive Harvest Management

Adaptive Harvest Management (AHM) is the annual process of setting duck-hunting regulations in the United States. See this process described in short video clips by two of the scientists that have been instrumental in its development and implementation.

View AHM Videos


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