Waterfowl Census



During the first weekend of November of 1983, Blair Nikula and members of the Cape Cod Bird Club initiated a census of the lakes and ponds on Cape Cod. Participants were instructed to identify and count all the water-fowl (loons, grebes, geese, ducks, and coot) present on each pond.

Covering 202 ponds, participants tallied 3,957 individuals of 22 species of waterfowl. The census continued the following year but was moved to the first weekend in December. Many ducks and geese do not arrive on Cape Cod until inland bodies of water freeze and the later date would more closely coincide with peak water-fowl numbers locally. Covering 213 ponds 23 species of water-fowl were counted with 8,950 individuals being recorded.

Now in its 34th year, the Cape Cod Waterfowl Census is an excellent example of one way in which birders, regardless of their expertise, can gather useful data and make a meaningful contribution to our knowledge of the Massachusetts avifauna. Waterfowl are relatively conspicuous, generally easy to identify, and thus readily censused with only a modest effort.

Results of past Cape Cod Waterfowl Surveys conducted by the Cape Cod Bird Club during the first weekend of December on the Cape Cod Birds web site can be viewed at https://www.capecodwaterfowl.info/#

If you would like to participate:

Please contact Stefanie Paventy at stefpav09@gmail.com.

If you would like to hear/read Mark Faherty’s recent WCAI Counting Waterfowl recording and text, click here.