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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.

Spring waterfowl 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 63 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 45 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

About the spring survey

Mississippi River fall survey

    These numbers do not reflect the actual population of waterfowl represented on the individual pools that were surveyed. This data represents only a sample of the population, determined by flying individual transects. The purpose of sampling utilizing transects is to gauge a subset of the population, then model to extrapolate the population by species.

2018 Surveys

    Currently survey flights are scheduled for: Nov 13-14 & Nov 26-27. These survey dates are weather dependent and if flown on time, count data should be posted by the Friday of that week.

2017 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

Any questions, they can call:
Brenda Kelly
Mississippi River wildlife biologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Green Bay

Green Bay fall survey

2018 Surveys

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

Notes from the field

Region map

Northwest Wisconsin

Northeast Wisconsin

Southwest Wisconsin

Southeast Wisconsin

Provide your own observations

Waterfowl hunters

This is a survey designed for hunters to provide information on their hunting experience throughout the waterfowl hunting seasons in Wisconsin. Information gathered from this survey will help the department improve its abilities to actively manage waterfowl populations and improve the hunting experience for waterfowl hunters. Hunters can directly provide feedback to the department to help inform future hunting season structures and recommendations by submitting their thoughts.

You may take this survey as many times as you want throughout the season.

Common goldeneye

Mid-winter waterfowl 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: Friday January 11 2019