Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Waterfowl Migration Study to Begin at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region, March 5, 2015
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A pair of redhead ducks stop over at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to feed and rest.
A pair of redhead ducks stop over at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to feed and rest. - Photo Credit: Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

It’s that time of year when the Atlantic Flyway is filled with birds migrating from their winter stomping grounds, and Frostburg State University is leading an effort to investigate the migration chronology of waterfowl at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. For the next two years during the spring and fall migration periods, Sean Knox, working under the direction of Dr. Frank Ammer, will conduct weekly waterfowl surveys on the Refuge’s five wetland impoundments as part of his M.S. graduate research. The surveys will determine when waterfowl arrive on the Refuge and how long the various species stay. Sean will sample the impoundments for invertebrates and aquatic vegetation, adding a bioenergetic component to the study, and will record water levels at survey sites and at water control structures to correlate waterfowl abundance with water depths. Surveys will follow protocols based on the Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring Program for the North Atlantic Region so that data collected in 2015 and 2016 can be compared to surveys from previous years. Not only will the information Sean collects aid the Refuge in managing the impoundments to support the greatest diversity of migrating waterfowl, but also, his work will provide baseline information on the current timing of migration, which may be especially important in light of climate change and potential future changes in migration patterns.

Contact Info: Steve Henry, 561-735-6021, steven_s_henry@fws.gov
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