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.

Bentley was a veteran of aerial waterfowl surveys, having flown the May waterfowl breeding ground surveys in the western Dakotas and eastern Montana for eight years. Pitkin was a former FWS employee who was working the midwinter survey on contract with the Service. No information is currently available on the cause of the crash.

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2009 Adaptive Harvest Management Report Released

This hard copy report provides waterfowl managers and the public with information about the use of Adaptive Harvest Management for setting waterfowl regulations in the United States.

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2009 Status of Waterfowl Report Released

Green-winged Teal photo, Eric Bégin, Flickr.comFinal results from the 2009 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. Preliminary reports are confirmed -- a total duck population estimate of more than 42 million birds in the traditional survey area, which is a 13 percent increase from 2008 and 25 percent above the 1955-2008 average.

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Download 2009 Report

Harvest Data and Reporting Features

image of Snow Geese for USFWSThe latest Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest Report has been released, reporting that over 13.7 million ducks were harvested in the United States during the 2008-2009 waterfowl hunting season, down from 14.6 million from the previous season. The number of harvested geese however, increased by 120,000 from the 2007-2008 season, with a total of 3.8 million harvested nationally in 2008-2009.

In addition to downloading the report, you can also generate a custom harvest trends report to view the information that is important to you quickly and easily. The reporting tool has been expanded to provide you with more options for narrowing or expanding the scope of your results. Now, in addition to viewing harvest trends for a specific species in a specific state you can view results for all ducks or all geese on a national level or within a selected flyway, or a total of all ducks and geese at the national level. As before, results are presented in line graph format to easily illustrate harvest trends from 1961 through 2008.

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Run a Custom Harvest Trends Report

2009 Duck Numbers and Habitat Survey Available

Preliminary results for the 2009 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 42.0 million birds represents a 13% increase over last year’s estimate, and was 25% above the long-term average. The total pond estimate was 6.4 million, which was 45% above last year’s estimate and 31% above the long-term average. Note: Estimates sometimes change between the preliminary numbers and final results.

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2009 Habitat Conditions Map Available

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pilot biologists flew thousands of survey miles over the northern U.S. and Canada in May and June, and have submitted reports on habitat conditions.  What they learned will help waterfowl managers gauge the status of waterfowl populations and form the basis for setting waterfowl hunting seasons this fall.

View 2009 Map

Biologists have Taken to the Skies to Conduct Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey

Pilot biologists have taken to the skies, looking for waterfowl. This year, 12 air crews and associated ground crews will be traversing the northern U.S. and Canada to survey waterfowl breeding populations and habitat conditions. Surveys will continue through mid-June. Check back for updates from the biologists.

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2008 Status of Waterfowl Report Released

Canada goose illustrationFinal results from the 2008 Waterfowl Population Status reports are now available. The total duck population was 37.3 million birds, 9 percent lower than the 2007 estimate but 11 percent above the 1955-2007 average.

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Download Waterfowl Status Report

Duck Numbers and Habitat Survey Available

Preliminary results for the 2008 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 37.3 million birds represents a 9% decline over last year’s estimate of 41.2 million birds, but remains 11% above the 1955-2007 long-term average. Total pond counts showed a 37% decrease from 2007 estimates. Note: Estimates sometimes change between the preliminary numbers and final results.

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View Duck Numbers

Download Trends Report

Pilot Biologists Report On Conditions

Pilot and Plane

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pilot biologists took to the skies over the northern U.S. and Canada in May and June, and have submitted reports on habitat conditions.  What they learned will help waterfowl managers gauge the status of waterfowl populations and form the basis for setting waterfowl hunting seasons this fall.

Pilot biologist video reports

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