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Contact information
For information on waterfowl surveys, contact:
Trenton Rohrer
Assistant migratory game bird ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management

Wisconsin waterfowl surveys

Plane flying over the Mississippi river

Photo taken by Melanie Guziec, WDNR.

Waterfowl surveys

Wisconsin spring survey


Spring survey overview

Decisions regarding hunting season structure and harvest limits in waterfowl management have a long history of being based in part upon spring breeding pair surveys. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey has been conducted for 62 years across the traditional survey area of north-central United States, Canada and Alaska. The Wisconsin Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey, which is modeled after the continental survey, has been conducted for 44 years and provides a long-term measure of waterfowl breeding trends in Wisconsin. These data are used at the national and state level for monitoring waterfowl populations and making management decisions.

Spring survey results

USFWS spring survey results

Mississippi River fall survey


2017 Surveys

2016 Surveys

Historical data

Survey methodology

Strip transects are flown in Mississippi River Pools 4 – 14, 45 m above ground and at 90 knots. Two observers survey each side of the plane and count all waterfowl, which includes ducks, geese and swans for a total distance of 400 meters.

Mississippi River contact information

Brenda Kelly
Mississippi River wildlife biologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Green Bay

Green Bay fall survey

2017 Surveys

Survey methodology

Transects were flown 60 m above ground at approximately 90 knots parallel to the east and west shores with a nearshore and offshore transect line. All waterfowl were counted and recorded to species to the best of the observer’s abilities.

Green Bay biologist contact information

Josh Martinez
Green Bay wildlife biologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Common goldeneye

Mid-winter survey

Mid-winter survey overview

The Mid-winter Waterfowl Survey is a nationwide effort to survey waterfowl in areas of major concentration on their wintering grounds and provide winter distribution and habitat affiliations. This survey also serves as a primary source of data on population trends for some species that breed in remote Arctic locations and are difficult to survey using traditional methods. Therefore abundance indices for some of these species are obtained from surveys on wintering areas. For species not covered in other population surveys these indices provide direct inputs into management programs such as harvest management plans.

Mid-winter survey results

2018 Survey
2017 Survey
Historical data

How many Canvasbacks do you think are in this photo?


Photo taken by: WDNR staff

Can you identify the predominant waterfowl in this photo?

Ring-necked ducks

Photo taken by: WDNR staff

Last revised: Thursday January 25 2018