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:  Monday September 14, 2020 (survey, Refuge-wide).  Surveys are conducted September through March.  

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 620-410-4040, 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 Goose944
unk. or undifferentiated goose species0
Wood Duck4
American Wigeon308
Blue-winged Teal3915
Green-winged Teal53
Cinnamon Teal2
Teal, sp.0
Northern Shoveler1,065
Northern Pintail924
Ring-necked Duck0
Lesser Scaup0
Common Goldeneye0
Hooded Merganser0
Common Merganser0
Ruddy Duck119
unk. or undifferentiated duck species0
divers, sp.0
dabblers, sp. (other than above)1350
Other Birds 
Sandhill Crane0
White Pelican530
American Coot1030
Western Grebe0
Eared Grebe2
Horned Grebe0
Pied-billed Grebe211
White-faced Ibis30-50
Tundra Swan0
Trumpeter Swan0
Double-crested Cormorant0
Bald Eagle0

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:  Monday, September 14, 2020(survey).  Note:  This is the first posted survey since March and the shutdown of the Refuge.  Surveys typically occur from March through October.

Black-necked Stilt9
American Avocet440
Black-bellied Plover4
American Golden Plover1
pluvialis, sp. plover0
Snowy Plover58
Semipalmated Plover9
Piping Plover0
Upland Sandpiper0
Long-billed Curlew0
Hudsonian Godwit0
Marbled Godwit0
Ruddy Turnstone0
Red Knot0
Stilt Sandpiper413
Baird's Sandpiper17
Least Sandpiper1197
White-rumped Sandpiper0
Buff-breasted Sandpiper0
Pectoral Sandpiper0
Semipalmated Sandpiper2
Western Sandpiper1
Short-billed Dowitcher0
Long-billed Dowitcher64
dowitcher, sp.581
Wilson's Snipe6
Spotted Sandpiper0
Solitary Sandpiper1
Greater Yellowlegs50
Lesser Yellowlegs32
yellowlegs, sp.11
Wilson's Phalarope28
Red-necked Phalarope0
Peep, sp.535
phalarope, sp.0
shorebirds, sp.     223
 Number of Species 20
Number of Individuals 3693


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.  Click here for the most recent count results:  Bird List NAMC May 11, 2019


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, 14 December 2018

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

Greater White-fronted Goose227
Snow Goose42314
Ross' Goose302
Cackling Goose15
Canada Goose120
Wood Duckcw
American Wigeon1
Northern Shoveler76
Northern Pintail38
Green-winged Teal229
Ring-necked Duck2
Lesser Scaup23
Common Goldeneye89
Common Merganser18
Ruddy Duck11
Northern Bobwhite45
Ring-necked Pheasant11
Wild Turkey7
Great Blue Heron6
Golden Eagle1
Northern Harrier81
Sharp-shinned Hawk3
Cooper's Hawk2
Bald Eagle22
Red-tailed Hawk95
Red-tailed (Harlan's) Hawk6
Rough-legged Hawk2
Ferruginous Hawk1
Virginia Rail2
American Coot82
Ring-billed Gull5
Herring Gull1
Rock Pigeon1
Eurasian Collared Dove 13
Mourning Dove27
Eastern Screech Owl3
Great Horned Owl17
Barred Owl5
Belted Kingfisher1
Red-bellied Woodpecker16
Downy Woodpecker18
Hairy Woodpecker8
Northern Flicker73
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)33
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)13
American Kestrel49
Prairie Falcon4
Loggerhead Shrike4
Blue Jay1
American Crow18
Horned Lark355
Black-capped Chickadee1
Tufted Titmousecw
Red-breasted Nuthatch3
White-breasted Nuthatch4
Brown Creeper3
Winter Wren1
Marsh Wren1
Carolina Wren1
Eastern Bluebird52
Mountain Bluebird 38
American Robin35
Northern Mockingbird5
European Starling921
Cedar Waxwing5
Lapland Longspur52
Yellow-rumped Warbler8
Le Conte's Sparrow1
American Tree Sparrow1033
Field Sparrow10
Fox Sparrow12
Dark-eyed Junco140
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)520
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)1
White-crowned Sparrow42
Harris's Sparrow575
White-throated Sparrow2
Savannah Sparrow3
Song Sparrow249
Spotted Towhee7
Northern Cardinal31
Red-winged Blackbird51200
Western Meadowlark13
Eastern Meadowlark14
meadowlark, sp.560
Brewer's Blackbird30
blackbird, sp.2065
House Finch8
Pine Siskin13
American Goldfinch22
House Sparrow11
Total Species91
Additional Count Week Species3



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 13 June 2019




Number of spots



Number of birds

Canada Goose23
Blue-winged Teal1242
Cinnamon Teal11
Northern Shoveler35
Northern Pintail48
Green-winged Teal12
Ring-necked Duck11
Ruddy Duck2116
Northern Bobwhite3064
Ring-necked Pheasant2656
Wild Turkey22
Pied-billed Grebe1317
Eared Grebe27
Double-crested Cormorant23
American White Pelican238
American Bittern1618
Least Bittern12
Great Blue Heron89
Great Egret36
Snowy Egret11
Black-crowned Night Heron113
Turkey Vulture22
Red-tailed Hawk33
American Kestrel11
Virginia Rail11
American Coot36
Snowy Plover326
Black-necked Stilt321
American Avocet319
Wilson's Phalarope412
Least Tern11
Black Tern118
Mourning Dove3060
Yellow-billed Cuckoo11
Great Horned Owl23
Chimney Swift11
Red-headed Woodpecker46
Northern Flicker22
Eastern Wood Pewee11
Eastern Phoebe11
Great Crested Flycatcher44
Western Kingbird67
Eastern Kingbird1721
Loggerhead Shrike23
Bell's Vireo67
Warbling Vireo67
Blue Jay55
American Crow11
Tree Swallow44
Cliff Swallow1143
Barn Swallow631
House Wren1421
American Robin24
Eastern Bluebird22
Gray Catbird11
Northern Mockingbird22
Brown Thrasher33
European Starling952
Yellow Warbler45
Common Yellowthroat816
Chipping Sparrow22
Field Sparrow22
Lark Sparrow11
Northern Cardinal58
Blue Grosbeak66
Red-winged Blackbird37236
Eastern Meadowlark43130
Yellow-headed Blackbird77
Common Grackle89
Brown-headed Cowbird1017
Orchard Oriole1217
Baltimore Oriole2140
American Goldfinch46
Total Species 78 
Total Birds 1,530