Atlantic Coast Wintering Sea Duck Survey

Project Number: 109
Year Funded: 2012
Lead Institution(s): Division of Migratory Bird Management
Project Lead:
Collaborator(s): Jeffery Lierness, David Saalfeld, Mark Knoeff, Ken Richkus
Location: Atlantic Coast
Focal Species: Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Black Scoter (Melanitta americana), Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), White-winged Scoter (Melanitta delgandi)
Project Description: In 2005, the Sea Duck Join Venture’s Monitoring Working Group identified the development of a winter sea duck survey along the Atlantic coast of the United States/Canada as a high priority. Winter distributional data are necessary to assess threats to sea ducks from hunting, coastal development, and marine activities. Winter abundance estimates may also provide cost-effective, feasible indices of population size for some species.

Monitoring of sea ducks along the eastern seaboard has been limited in range and utility, and adequate estimates of abundance and trend are lacking. The Atlantic Flyway Sea Duck Survey, an aerial survey conducted between 1991 and 2002, consisted of a single track flown parallel to the coast, onequarter mile offshore; the resulting data did not allow estimation of winter population sizes or the quantification of survey precision. Subsequent surveys, which included offshore areas, were conducted only in the mid-Atlantic, in the vicinity of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. To expand on these efforts and address the Sea Duck Joint Venture priority, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service conducted four years of exploratory survey work, aimed at developing a rigorously designed, coast-wide, offshore winter sea duck survey.
Project Reports:
Atlantic Coast Wintering Sea Duck Survey