Important Notice:

Flyways.us will be shutting down on January 2, 2019. However, most of the content found here will now be available on the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program website.

First Day of Duck Stamp Sales

image of 2010-2011 duck stamp

The First Day of Sale event for the 2010-2011 Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp is June 25, 2010. Since 1934, the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp ("Duck Stamp") has provided nearly 700 million dollars for habitat conservation.

2010 Breeding Population Survey Draws to a Close

Caleb Spiegel (left) and Fred Roetker (right) bring their Quest Kodiak survey plane home. The 2010 Survey is done. Credit: Wipaire, Inc.S

When pilot biologist Fred Roetker and observer Caleb Spiegel touched down in Minnesota on June 10, the 2010 Habitat and Breeding Population Survey drew to a close for another year. The dedicated pilots and survey crews really outdid themselves this year, sharing more photos than ever, and even submitting a few "bird's-eye" video clips of what they were seeing as they criss-crossed the "Duck Factory" in May and June. You can access all of the pilot biologist reports for some early insight into the waterfowl and habitat conditions that will be used to develop population estimates that will eventually determine fall hunting regulations. Conditions varied across the flyways of course, but in general, an early spring throughout much of Canada and the northern US should bode well for waterfowl reproduction.

Pilot Biologists Begin 2010 Survey

May Waterfowl survey begins. Photo by Garnet Raven (CWS).

May Waterfowl survey begins. Photo by Garnet Raven (CWS).

In early May, the first of 12 air crews and associated ground crews took off to conduct the annual Breeding Population and Habitat Survey across Canada and the northern United States. Go to the Pilot Biologist Reports to read personal accounts and see pictures of current habitat conditions from the pilot biologists and ground crews conducting the survey. Each year, air crews (a pilot biologist and an observer) fly fixed-wing aircraft at low altitude (150 ft) over transect lines through waterfowl habitat areas. Over 55,000 miles of transects are flown every year. That’s like counting ducks in a single line over two times around the world!

This survey is a cooperative effort of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and state, provincial, and tribal agencies. It currently covers more than 2.1 million square miles of the northern United States and Canada, and includes most of the primary duck nesting areas in North America.

Pilot biologists gathered at a pre-survey planning meeting.  Front row (left to right):  Ed Mallek, Fred Roetker, Jim Wortham, Sheldon Mixon, Thom Lewis and Mark Koneff. Back row (left to right): Phil Thorpe, John Bidwell, Jim Bredy, Walt Rhodes, Terry Liddick and John Solberg. Missing: Karen Bollinger, Brian Lubinski, Kevin Fox.

Pilot biologists gathered at a pre-survey planning meeting. Front row (left to right): Ed Mallek, Fred Roetker, Jim Wortham, Sheldon Mixon, Thom Lewis and Mark Koneff.
Back row (left to right): Phil Thorpe, John Bidwell, Jim Bredy, Walt Rhodes, Terry Liddick and John Solberg.
Missing: Karen Bollinger, Brian Lubinski, Kevin Fox.

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.

View flight logs and photos

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.

Download AHM Report

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.

View Video Report

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.

Download Harvest Report

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.

View Pond Numbers

View Duck Numbers

Download Trends Report

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.

Read Pilot Biologist Reports

Pages