At Blackwater NWR, the best time for viewing waterfowl is between mid-October and mid-March. Wintering species include tundra swans, Canada and snow geese, and over 20 species of ducks. The most common ducks found here are mallards, black ducks, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, wigeon, and pintails. Although most waterfowl migrate north in the spring, some remain through the summer, using the protected areas of the Refuge to raise their young. These nesting waterfowl include Canada geese, mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, and blue-winged teal.
Want to know what birds have been recently seen at the refuge? We suggest visiting Cornell's eBird page for Blackwater. There you can see all the bird sightings that have recently been logged by refuge visitors. Better yet, join the eBird community and contribute to the sightings list!
Blackwater NWR biologists and trained volunteers conduct waterfowl surveys primarily in the fall and winter. Unless otherwise noted, these are ground surveys. The biologists approximate the number of birds by driving a predetermined route around the refuge property. These surveys provide a "snapshot" of the waterfowl present at the refuge during a given week. A spreadsheet of the weekly surveys can be found below.
Update January 20, 2024: Waterfowl/waterbird surveys for the Winter of 2023/24 have been placed on a new spreadsheet, which can be found below. Survey results will be updated as new data is received from our survey crew. Surveys are conducted weekly, though weather and/or road conditions may cause some to be cancelled. The 2024 midwinter aerial waterfowl survey and the midwinter eagle survey have also been added below.