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Breeding Grounds Survey: Alberta Ground Crew Prepares for the Survey

May 08, 2014 - Southern and Central Alberta
  • Mike Watmough checking out a large seasonal wetland on the Pakowki transect.
    photo by Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada
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By Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service Southern and Central Alberta (Ground Crew)

The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered today (Thursday, May 8th) in Medicine Hat, Alberta. During the drive down from Edmonton we witnessed some good wetland conditions through the parklands. Conditions appeared to improve further south, in the prairies. Alberta received good snowpack over the winter and it appears that much of the melt has accumulated and renewed many of the wetlands. Our pilot, Jim Bredy, was able to survey the two southernmost transects today so our ground crew will be busy surveying the Pakowki and Manyberries air-ground transects tomorrow.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the Alberta air crew of Jim Bredy and his observer, Joe Sands. Our primary objective is to get a complete count of all waterfowl and wetlands present on the air-ground comparison segments. These counts will provide correction factors for visibility biases of the aerial counts. Visibility biases are known to exist for all aerial observers, and these biases change between years as a result of varying conditions. We have 24 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta this year. We begin in the southern portion of the province and work our way north, all the way up to the Edmonton area in central Alberta. Stay tuned!

A white-faced Ibis spotted on the Claresholm transect.  Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada

An American Avocet seen on the Claresholm transect.  Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Get more information about the 2014 BPOP Survey and other waterfowl surveys at Flyways.us

Find more breeding waterfowl and habitat updates on the DU Habitat Map