50th Anniversary of the
North American Waterfowl Survey
Every spring and summer, for the past 50 years, teams of U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service pilot-biologists take to the skies to survey
North America’s waterfowl breeding grounds. Flying more
than 80,000 miles, crisscrossing the country just above the
treetops, they and observers on the ground, record the number of
ducks, geese and swans, and assess the quality and quantity of waterfowl
breeding habitats. From the wide-open bays and wetlands of the eastern shores
of North America to some of the most remote regions of Canada and Alaska,
they are documenting an important part of our wild heritage.
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's pilot-biologists gathered at the
Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on
April 16 to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of the North American
Waterfowl Survey in 2005. Credit Todd Harless/USFWS.
The Waterfowl Population
Survey Program represents a 50-year legacy of standardized cooperative surveys performed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife
Service, state and provincial biologists, and non-governmental cooperators. The survey program being celebrated in 2005
is believed to be the most extensive, comprehensive, long-term annual wildlife survey effort in the world.The results of these surveys determine the status of
’s waterfowl populations; play a significant
role in setting annual waterfowl hunting regulations; and help to guide the
decisions of waterfowl managers throughout
Pilot-biologist James F. Voelzer, chief of water-fowl population surveys for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pauses in front of one of his agency's Cessna duck survey float planes.Voelzer is based in Portland, Oregon. Credit Todd Harless/USFWS.