Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey
This survey was first conducted in 1935 and is the oldest operational survey still being conducted annually. The survey served as the principal source of information for regulations-development each year until 1955, when operational breeding ground surveys were initiated. All Central Flyway states conduct counts of one nature or another - mostly aerial - with some states receiving assistance from the USFWS. It is currently conducted during the first week of January when waterfowl are concentrated to a high degree. Central Flyway states spend over $50,000 annually, spending 252 days.
The survey provides an index for all species counted but is more important to the monitoring of some than others. In particular, actions included in the management plans for Canada goose populations are "driven" by counts from this survey. In addition, counts of light geese (snow and Ross's) are important to management decisions.
MWS survey data for all flyways is available at this website:https://migbirdapps.fws.gov/