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Waterfowl Surveys

northern pintail
Waterfowl Common Golden Eye

Migratory waterfowl comprise one of the most historically, culturally, and economically important elements of the Green Bay ecosystem. Yet, no long-term systematic or standardized monitoring has taken place in the Lower Green Bay and Fox River Area of Concern (LGBFR AOC), though some attempts have been made to study waterfowl usage in lower Green Bay (e.g., UW-Green Bay master’s thesis by Vicky Harris, 1998). Unfortunately, most standardized waterfowl surveys are conducted from airplanes with bird biologists counting birds from the air, which can be expensive and logistically difficult to coordinate.

Therefore, Wolf, Howe, and Giese developed and implemented a systematic, repeatable method for surveying migratory waterfowl in the LGBFR AOC from permanent ground survey points. Thomas Prestby conducted migratory waterfowl surveys during fall 2016, winter 2016-17, and spring 2017 migratory periods. Read more about the detailed field methodologies here. With these data, they described waterfowl species composition and estimated seasonal numbers of individuals in the LGBFR AOC, described how waterfowl distributions change throughout each migratory period and across seasons, and compared data collected at ground survey points with aerial sampling.

The raw migratory waterfowl point count data are available upon request. Please contact Erin Giese (, Robert Howe (, and Amy Wolf (