Biological Surveys

Large flock of Snow and Greater White-fronted Geese taking flight

Several types of surveys are undertaken throughout the year.  These help us to understand population sizes, trends, changes over time, or simply provide us a baseline of information.

Regular Surveys

The following are examples, and results, of surveys conducted at Quivira.

Waterfowl Surveys 

Refuge-wide estimates of waterfowl (geese, ducks, swans, etc.) are conducted from September through April.  These surveys are not on a set schedule but are held on average once every two weeks.  Counts of Sandhill Cranes, White Pelicans, and Bald Eagles are usually included on these surveys. 

Flock of Northern Pintails on a marsh

Waterfowl population estimate/survey, most recent:  Tuesday, April 9, 2019.  Last survey of the spring.  Surveys will resume in the fall.  

NOTE:   the numbers below are either from formal, refuge-wide surveys or from informal estimates.  The data is incomplete and not to be disseminated for use as official.  Waterfowl estimates can also be obtained by calling the refuge phone number 620-486-2393 and ask for extension 105, or the same number after business hours (7:30 - 4:00 Monday through Friday) for a recorded message.

Conditions:  Water 100% open 
 Species Count (estimate)
Gr. White-fronted Goose0
Snow Goose0
Ross' Goose0
Snow/Ross' Goose (not separated)0
Cackling Goose0
Canada Goose16
unk. or undifferentiated goose species0
Wood Duck2
American Wigeon264
Blue-winged Teal505
Green-winged Teal2,213
Cinnamon Teal2
Teal, sp.458
Northern Shoveler3,797
Northern Pintail44
Ring-necked Duck42
Lesser Scaup421
Common Goldeneye3
Hooded Merganser3
Common Merganser1
Ruddy Duck3,184
unk. or undifferentiated duck species328
divers, sp.10
dabblers, sp. (other than above)746
Other Birds 
Sandhill Crane0
White Pelican64
American Coot323
Western Grebe0
Eared Grebe4
Horned Grebe1
Pied-billed Grebe8
White-faced Ibis0
Tundra Swan0
Trumpeter Swan2
Double-crested Cormorant36
Bald Eagle1J

Shorebird Surveys 

Refuge-wide surveys of shorebirds are conducted from mid-March through early June, and again from late June through October.   Depending on water conditions, shorebirds can occur throughout the Refuge, but are particularly abundant in and near Big Salt Marsh.

Flock of Wilson's Phalaropes spinning in water

Shorebird Survey, most recent:  Thursday, April 25, 2019

Black-necked Stilt35
American Avocet68
Black-bellied Plover0
American Golden Plover0
pluvialis, sp. plover0
Snowy Plover174
Semipalmated Plover2
Piping Plover0
Upland Sandpiper0
Long-billed Curlew0
Hudsonian Godwit9
Marbled Godwit0
Ruddy Turnstone0
Red Knot0
Stilt Sandpiper0
Baird's Sandpiper112
Least Sandpiper54
White-rumped Sandpiper0
Buff-breasted Sandpiper0
Pectoral Sandpiper7
Semipalmated Sandpiper157
Western Sandpiper0
Short-billed Dowitcher0
Long-billed Dowitcher781
dowitcher, sp.0
Wilson's Snipe0
Spotted Sandpiper1
Solitary Sandpiper0
Greater Yellowlegs2
Lesser Yellowegs41
yellowlegs, sp.5
Wilson's Phalarope1,135
Red-necked Phalarope0
Peep, sp.845
unidentified shorebirds38
 Number of Species 17
Number of Individuals 3,495


North American Migration Count (NAMC) 

A county-by-county survey conducted the second Saturday each May, the NAMC is a volunteer-run count.  Typically, the count covers Quivira, but additional areas in the county (such as area towns) are frequently checked.  Check back here in 2013 for the latest results.


Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

An all-day count held annually in mid-December, this is a group effort to find as many birds as possible within a 15-mile diameter circle, centered in the middle of Quivira.  As many as a hundred species (and several million birds) have been recorded in past years.  Quivira's first CBC was held in 1959, and the count has been conducted annually since except for 1966 and 1982.

Christmas Bird Count, Quivira, 16 December 2014

Note:  CW = seen during the count week, but not on count day; bold type denotes an unusual species to the count.

Greater White-fronted Goose160
Snow Goose42,000
Ross' Goose300
Cackling Goose120
Canada Goose1,500
American Wigeon4
Northern Shoveler1
Northern Pintail138
Green-winged Teal27
Ring-necked Duck13
Lesser Scaup7
Common Goldeneye175
Common Merganser74
Northern Bobwhite91
Ring-necked Pheasant14
Wild Turkey178
Great Blue Heron14
White-faced Ibis1
Bald Eagle27
Northern Harrier91
Sharp-shinned Hawk2
Cooper's Hawk3
Red-tailed Hawk103
Red-tailed (Harlan's) Hawk2
Ferruginous Hawk1
Rough-legged Hawk1
American Kestrel45
Prairie Falcon2
Virginia Rail4
American Coot1
Bonaparte's Gull1
Ring-billed Gull130
Herring Gull6
Rock Pigeon9
Eurasian Collared Dove 9
Mourning Dove66
Eastern Screech Owl6
Great Horned Owl24
Barred Owl2
Short-eared Owl5
Belted Kingfisher3
Red-bellied Woodpecker26
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker5
Downy Woodpecker19
Hairy Woodpecker7
Northern Flicker150
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)30
Loggerhead Shrike7
Blue Jay1
American Crow15
Horned Lark115
White-breasted Nuthatch14
Black-capped Chickadee1
Sedge WrenCW
Marsh Wren3
Carolina Wren4
Golden-crowned Kinglet5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet1
Eastern Bluebird74
Mountain Bluebird18
Hermit Thrush2
American Robin190
Northern Mockingbird7
European Starling425
Cedar Waxwing8
Lapland Longspur10
Yellow-rumped Warbler21
Spotted Towhee1
American Tree Sparrow14,061
Field Sparrow9
Savannah Sparrow4
Fox Sparrow5
Song Sparrow38
Harris' Sparrow325
White-crowned Sparrow55
Dark-eyed Junco560
Northern Cardinal42
Red-winged Blackbird2,500
Eastern Meadowlark8
Western Meadowlark81
meadowlark, sp.336
Brewer's Blackbird2,408
Brown-headed Cowbird33
Purple Finch1
House Finch66
Pine Siskin9
American Goldfinch141
House Sparrow37
Total Species89
Total Individuals75,428
Additional Count Week Species0



Breeding Bird Surveys

Most years, a Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route is conducted twice during early summer (usually June).  This is done along a 25-mile route, with stops every half mile, where all birds seen and heard are recorded.

Lark Sparrow 448


Breeding Bird Survey, conducted 5 June 2017




Number of spots



Number of birds

Canada Goose313
Wood Duck22
Blue-winged Teal634
Cinnamon Teal11
Northern Shoveler516
Ruddy Duck113
Northern Bobwhite3045
Ring-necked Pheasant2032
Wild Turkey11
Pied-billed Grebe67
American White Pelican3113
American Bittern1011
Great Blue Heron45
Great Egret33
Reddish Egret11
Green Heron11
Black-crowned Night Heron15
Mississippi Kite11
Red-tailed Hawk44
Virginia Rail11
American Coot349
Snowy Plover312
Black-necked Stilt648
American Avocet233
Ruddy Turnstone11
White-rumped Sandpiper11
Wilson's Phalarope317
peep sandpiper, sp.1100
Franklin's Gull234
Least Tern11
Mourning Dove2651
Great Horned Owl13
Common Nighthawk11
Chimney Swift12
Red-headed Woodpecker78
Hairy Woodpecker11
Northern Flicker89
Eastern Phoebe11
Great Crested Flycatcher88
Western Kingbird66
Eastern Kingbird2233
Bell's Vireo78
Warbling Vireo55
Red-eyed Vireo11
Blue Jay11
American Crow11
Tree Swallow22
N. Rough-winged Swallow12
Cliff Swallow1287
Barn Swallow713
House Wren1118
American Robin34
Eastern Bluebird11
Northern Mockingbird33
Brown Thrasher811
European Starling1141
Yellow Warbler711
Common Yellowthroat913
Chipping Sparrow11
Field Sparrow34
Northern Cardinal33
Blue Grosbeak67
Red-winged Blackbird34229
Eastern Meadowlark44145
Western Meadowlark55
Yellow-headed Blackbird79
Common Grackle44
Brown-headed Cowbird1219
Orchard Oriole1519
Baltimore Oriole2142
American Goldfinch11
Total Species 75 
Total Birds 1,604