Monday, April 14, 2014

Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

Researchers found more than 905,000 waterfowl during the 2014 Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey. Each winter, aerial survey teams of pilots and biologists from The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources make visual estimates of ducks, swans and geese along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast.

The estimated total represents a 22 percent increase over the 2013 survey estimate of 739,600 birds. Biologists attribute the higher count to the fact many species flocked to Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay due to severe winter conditions to the north.

Additionally, large areas of the Bay and tributaries were ice covered during the survey period, concentrating waterfowl in ice-free, open waters where they were more easily counted.

The survey estimates for mallards, black ducks and canvasbacks were the highest they have been since the mid-1970s. Overall, dabbling ducks were more abundant this time around (128,000) compared to last winter (72,800).

There were nearly twice as many diving ducks this survey (190,300) over last year (98,100). The canvasback count (68,400) was the highest since the mid-1960s, and far greater than the January 2013 estimate (18,400). 

Survey teams also observed large numbers of wintering Canada geese (512,100) along the upper Chesapeake Bay. The extensive snow and ice in northern latitudes pushed large numbers of geese south to the Chesapeake from their normal wintering areas in southern Ontario and the Finger Lakes region of New York.  

The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually throughout the United States since the early 1950s. The Maryland survey results are ultimately pooled with other states’ results to provide a measure of the distribution and population size of waterfowl wintering in the Atlantic Flyway, as well as information on long-term trends.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CWD Found in Maryland Deer

In February, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received laboratory confirmation that a second white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The adult female deer was harvested in Allegany County in December 2013 during firearm season. The first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland was reported in February 2011, also from Allegany County.

This is the second positive sample out of nearly 7,500 deer tested in Maryland since 1999. Since 2010, sampling efforts have been focused on Allegany and western Washington counties due to the presence of CWD in nearby West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Over 20 U.S. states and Canadian provinces have documented cases of chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, moose.

The disease appears to be passed between animals via saliva, feces or urine, according to DNR.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources