Waterfowl Surveys

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Waterfowl surveys have been conducted on Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge from at least the early 1950's. Both ground count and aerial survey methods have been utilized. Earlier surveys were conducted each week throughout the entire year with most counts occurring from the ground. In 1991, the refuge changed the waterfowl survey timing to bi-weekly counts from September 1 - April 15 and stated that the preferred survey method would be aerial surveys. In 1998 the surveys were further modified, changing the timing to bi-weekly counts from mid-October through the first week of March. 

Currently, the surveys are conducted twice a month beginning in mid-October and ending in early March. All surveys are now conducted using a fixed-wing aircraft with one observer in addition to the pilot. The twice monthly approach allows more time to accomplish the survey, which is needed since weather more often impacts when aerial surveys can be conducted. 

Attempts are made using the same observer to survey all the waterfowl habitats within the refuge following the same route during each survey period. The data is recorded by waterfowl species. In addition to waterfowl, bald eagles, golden eagles, sandhill cranes, white pelicans, and common loons are recorded when observed. 

Current Data

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
Waterfowl Counts: 
Refuge Total Jan. 16-31, 2019        Big Sandy Unit Jan. 16-31, 2019
Duck River Unit Jan. 16-31, 2019       Busseltown Unit Jan. 16-31, 2019

Current data for Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge can be found here.

Historical Data

Below is a list of waterfowl count data dating back to 2005. Refuge Total refers to a culmination of the data collected at Big Sandy, Duck River, and Busseltown units of the refuge. 

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge  
Total Waterfowl Counts:

Dec. 1-15 2005 Jan. 1-15 2006 
 Dec. 1-15 2006 Jan. 1-15 2007 
Dec. 1-15 2007 Jan. 1-15 2008 
Dec. 1-15 2008 Jan. 1-15 2009 
Dec. 1-15 2009 Jan. 1-15 2010 
Dec. 1-15 2010 Jan. 1-15 2011 
Dec. 16-31 2011 Jan. 1-15 2012 
Dec. 1-15 2012 Jan. 1-15 2013 
Dec. 1-15 2013 Jan. 1-15 2014 
Dec. 1-15 2014 Jan. 1-15 2015  
Dec. 1-15 2015   Jan. 1-15 2016        
Dec. 1-15, 2016 Jan. 1-15, 2017      
Dec. 1-15, 2017Jan. 16-31, 2019