West Virginia wildlife biologists counted 2,033 ducks and 3,275
geese during the annual mid-winter waterfowl survey in early
January, according to Steve Wilson, Waterfowl Biologist for the
Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural
“Duck numbers were up and goose numbers were down compared to
last year, but were similar to recent years,” Wilson said. “The
real value of this survey is the long term trend over broad areas,
so it is important that we do not try to read too much into these
numbers.” West Virginia’s data will be combined with other states’
data to produce regional and continental trend data. Waterfowl are
very mobile and weather strongly influences their movements. The
highest counts occur in West Virginia when everything north of the
state is frozen and snow covered and there is enough snow and ice
here to force birds to congregate on the larger lakes and rivers.
These ideal conditions occurred in 2001 in West Virginia when more
than 20,000 ducks and 10,000 geese were observed during the
Canada geese, mallards and black ducks were, as always, the most
commonly observed species in the 2009 survey. Other species
observed include: canvasback, redhead, pintail, gadwall,
mergansers, bufflehead, and ruddy ducks. Several bald and golden
eagles were also observed.
The survey was conducted on January 9, 14, and 15, 2009, and
included the Kanawha, Ohio, Potomac and Shenandoah rivers as well
as Tygart and Bluestone lakes.