Bear River MBR Waterbird/Raptor Surveys

2155 West Forest St, Brigham City, UT 84302       Phone: 435/734-6433

Waterbird/Raptor survey

A total of 2595 waterfowl, no shorebirds, and 69 raptors. The average number of waterfowl for this week in January is around 28,000 with the average number of raptors 88. No unusual birds noted. All units are froze
except at the water outlets or outflow areas.

Tundra Swan 127 Redhead 25 Ring billed Gull 133
Canada Goose 21 C. Goldeneye 287 California Gull 9
Mallard 952 Bufflehead 38 Coot 11
Pintail 192 Common Merganser 21 Bald Eagle 13
Green-winged Teal 323 Ring-necked Duck 400 Northern Harrier 24
Shoveler 95 Ruddy Duck 66 Red Tailed Hawk 1
 Gadwall 19 Pied-billed Grebe 15 Rough-legged Hawk 29
Wigeon 5 Eared Grebe 1 Loggerhead Shrike 2
Canvasback 24 Great Blue Heron 21    

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Waterbird/Raptor Survey

Total waterfowl around 2,000. Long-term average for this week in February
is around 26,000. All wetland units remain frozen over with the exception
of two locations at wetland unit outlets. Similar conditions existed in
2004 when total waterfowl count was less than 300. Migrant tundra swans
are arriving along with a few diving duck species. Canada Goose pairs
appear to be searching for nesting locations.

Tundra Swan 281 Redhead 6 Great Blue Heron 11
Canada Goose 66 Scaup spp. 27 Ring Billed Gull 38
Mallard 781 Common Goldeneye 174 California Gull 2
Northern Pintail 192 Bufflehead 66 Am. Coot 6
Northern Shoveler 31 Comm. Merganser 5 Bald Eagle 5
Gadwall 31 Ring-necked duck 6 Northern Harrier 31
American Wigeon 72 Ruddy duck 120 Rough-legged Hawk 28
Canvasback 45 Pied-billed Grebe 3 Am. Kestrel 1

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Waterbird/Raptor Count

Migration is now in full swing. Total waterfowl around 235,000. This is about double the average 131,000 for this week in March. Total shorebirds around 1300, average for this week is about 2600. All units are open and
ice free. Very good observation around the tour loop of tundra swans and waterfowl. Oh, and gulls!

March high counts of American Wigeon, redhead, ruddy duck, bufflehead, great blue heron, and Bonaparte's gull. First spring observations of Bonaparte's gull, tree swallow, red-shafted flicker, yellow-headed blackbird, savannah sparrow, American avocet, Baird's sandpiper, Caspian Tern, golden eagle, dowitcher, western and Clark's grebes.

About 30% of all birds tallied were observed from units around the tour loop viewing area.

Tundra Swan 11545 Scaup 15758 Am. Avocet 1252
Snow Goose 1200 Common Goldeneye 10884 Baird's Sandpiper 3
Canada Goose 503 Barrow's Goldeneye 2 Dowitcher spp. 7
Mallard 8805 Bufflehead 7762 Franklin's Gull 5
N. Pintail 49952 Comm. Merganser 6 Bonaparte's Gull 11
GW Teal 26464 Red-breast. Merganser 6 Ring billed Gull 1725
Cinnamon Teal 55 Ring-necked Duck 15 California Gull 4744
Northern Shoveler 27165 Ruddy Duck 8023 Caspian Tern 3
Gadwall 11710 Western Grebe 8 Am. coot 8838
Am. Wigeon 27740 Clark's Grebe 10 Sandhill Crane 2
Eurasian Wigeon 2 A.W. Pelican 45 Bald Eagle 33
Long-tailed Duck 1 DC Cormorant 225 Golden Eagle 1
Canvasback 19170 Great Blue Heron 114 Northern Harrier 4
Redhead 10045 Killdeer 9 Rough-legged Hawk 2

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Waterbird/Raptor Survey
Apr 2007

Total waterfowl around 44,000. This is above the long-term average of 36,000 for this week in April. Total shorebirds around 14,000, which is lower than the long-term average of 16,500. First spring sightings of Forster's tern, least sandpiper, blue-winged teal and great egret. April record high counts of pied-billed grebe, Caspian tern, and California gull.Not surprising about the gulls now that they're starting to nest not only on the islands but the dikes as well. All time Refuge high count set for lesser yellowlegs.

Canada Goose 277 Western Grebe 138 Least Sandpiper 38
Mallard 2430 Clark's Grebe 23 Peep 38
Northern Pintail 2437 A.W. Pelican 132 Dowitcher 1
Green-winged Teal 5924 D.C. cormorant 400 Franklin's gull 1049
Blue-winged Teal 2 Great Blue Heron 52 Ring-billed gull 2
Cinnamon Teal 2286 Great Egret 3 California gull 7292
Northern Shoveler 12140 Snowy Egret 28 Caspian Tern 87
Gadwall 8493 Cattle Egret 1 Forster's tern 7
Am. Wigeon 1843 B.C. Night-Heron 41 Coot 11688
Canvasback 442 White-faced Ibis 655 Sandhill Crane 1
Redhead 523 Killdeer 15 Bald Eagle 1
Scaup spp. 2000 Black-necked Stilt 2882 Northern Harrier 6
Bufflehead 1457 American Avocet 7567 Am. Kestrel 1
Ruddy Duck 3298 Greater Yellowlegs 91 Peregrine Falcon 1
Pied-billed Grebe 9 Lesser Yellowlegs 862 Loggerhead shrike 1
Eared Grebe 260 Marbled godwit 2066    

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Waterbird/Raptor survey

Total waterfowl around 42,000. Average for this week in May is about 20,000. Total shorebirds around 9,000. Average number of shorebirds for this week in May is about 13,000. Notable birds include whimbrel, 1st spotted sandpiper, and great egret. Refuge record May high count for Mallard, Cinnamon Teal, Canvasback, Red-breasted Merganser, Lesser Yellowlegs, California gull, and Bald Eagle.

The following birds were observed from around the Auto Tour Route. This wetland unit is being drained in anticipation of work on the water-control structures during the summer months.

Canada goose 124 Pied-billed Grebe 3 Willet 1
Mallard 1380 Eared Grebe 376 Spotted Sandpiper 1
Pintail 405 Western Grebe 61 Greater Yellowlegs 2
Green-winged Teal 708 Clark's Grebe 20 Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Cinnamon Teal 984 A.W. Pelican 76 Marbled Godwit 181
N. Shoveler 1182 Great Blue Heron 5 Dowitcher 708
Gadwall 2760 Snowy Egret 23 Franklin's gull 502
Wigeon 553 BC Night Heron 1 California gull 3
Canvasback 12 WF Ibis 1699 Forster's tern 29
Redhead 495 Killdeer 5 Coot 1761
Scaup 460 Black Necked Stilt 634 Sandhill Crane 2
Goldeneye 5 Am. Avocet 1869 Northern Harrier 1
Ruddy duck 107        

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Bear River Refuge
Waterbird/Raptor survey

Total number of waterfowl around 15,000. Average for this week in June is about 20,000. Total number of shorebirds around 7,000 which is only about half of the long-term average of 14,000. Set June record high counts for Canvasback, Snowy Egret, Caspian Tern and Sandhill Crane. I think the snowy egret numbers were high because of the abandonment of the nesting colony. Normally, the birds aren't as visible this time of year as they are tending young. Nesting, eared, Clark's and western grebes visible from the tour loop.

Canada Goose 1192 Eared Grebe 219 Willet 2
Mallard 4490 Western Grebe 353 Spotted Sandpiper 9
N. Pintail 2589 Clark's Grebe 176 Long-billed Curlew 2
GW Teal 350 A.W. Pelican 1743 Marbled Godwit 564
BW Teal 1 DC Cormorant 880 Wilson's Phalarope 632
Cinnamon Teal 1844 Great Blue Heron 266 Franklin's Gull 3238
N. shoveler 191 Great Egret 3 California Gull 6925
Gadwall 2324 Snowy Egret 622 Caspian Tern 147
Wigeon 1047 BC Night Heron 31 Forster's Tern 359
Unk. dabbler 340 White faced Ibis 4487 Virginia Rail 1
Canvasback 499 Snowy Plover 1 Sora 2
Redhead 8 Killdeer 8 coot 1606
Ruddy Duck 186 Black necked Stilt 4846 Sandhill Crane 5
Pied-billed Grebe 32 Am. Avocet 956 Northern Harrier 4

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Waterbird/Raptor Survey

Total waterfowl around 16,000. Long-term average for this week in July is closer to 32,000. Total shorebird numbers around 12,000 with the average about 22,000. River inflows remained unexpectedly high until July 5th
when it plummeted from a high of 1000 cfs to 100 cfs.

All numbers within expected range. Southbound migrant shorebirds have arrived including marbled godwit and greater yellowlegs. While many western and Clark's grebes have young, the eared grebes have just initiated incubation. Notable sighting includes an American bittern on the auto-tour-loop south from the toilet about 1/4 to 1/2 mile, on the west side of the road. The Refuge road is open and partially paved. Phase 2 of the road construction has not yet begin.......

Canada Goose 1138 Clark's Grebe 297 Spotted Sandpiper 11
Mallard 3354 A.W. Pelican 994 GreaterYellowlegs 4
Northern Pintail 3416 DC Cormorant 694 Marbled Godwit 7147
GW Teal 630 American Bittern 1 Common Snipe 2
Cinnamon Teal 1687 Great Blue Heron 85 Wilson's Phalarope 9
Northern Shoveler 1703 Great Egret 9 Franklin's Gull 2590
Gadwall 2465 Snowy Egret 162 Ring Billed Gull 2
Wigeon 24 BC Night Heron 33 California Gull 9499
Canvasback 499 White-faced Ibis 3877 Caspian Tern 3
Redhead 1195 Snowy Plover 1 Forster's Tern 261
Ruddy duck 503 Killdeer 5 Virginia Rail 1
Pied-billed Grebe 11 Black Necked Stilt 2111 Sora 7
Eared Grebe 197 American Avocet 2536 Coot 2894
Western Grebe 391 Willet 2 Sandhill Crane 7

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge


Total waterfowl around 17,000 with a long-term average for this week in August around 34,000. Total shorebirds around 29,000 compared to the  long-term average of 61,000. I think the lower numbers observed compared  to the long-term averages is in part due to the amount of habitat  available below or perimeter dike that is not visible from my driving  route as well as a reflection of the number of wetland units we currently  have dry for maintenance purposes. Notable increase in pintail numbers in the last month. Majority of young have fledged and can be see feeding (or being fed) including white-faced ibis, Franklin's gull, California gull, avocet and stilts and western and Clark's grebes. Total counts of birds by species all are within the expected range.

Canada Goose 1057 DC Cormorant 677 Peep 52
Mallard 3879 Great Blue Heron 143 Dowitcher sp. 2206
Northern Pintail 5693 Great Egret 12 Wilson's Phalarope 28
GW Teal 128 Snowy Egret 783 Franklin's gull 2040
Cinnamon Teal 1142 Blk. Crown. N. Heron 9 Ring billed gull 22
Northern Shoveler 943 White-faced Ibis 17,426 California gull 3156
Gadwall 2219 Snowy Plover 53 Caspian Tern 9
Am. Wigeon 221 Killdeer 4 Forster's Tern 329
Canvasback 96 Black necked Stilt 13,352 Black Tern 71
Redhead 932 American Avocet 7,699 Virginia Rail 2
Ruddy duck 629 Spotted Sandpiper 10 Sora 1
PB Grebe 9 Greater Yellowlegs 2 Coot 9200
Eared Grebe 46 Lesser Yellowlegs 213 Sandhill Crane 3
Western Grebe 266 Marbled Godwit 5091 Turkey Vulture 3
Clark's Grebe 150 Least Sandpiper 7 Northern Harrier 4
A.W. Pelican 4619        

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Bear River Refuge
Waterbird/Raptor Survey

Total number of waterfowl around 188,000. This is just slightly below the long-term average for this week in September of 205,000. The number of American green-winged teal and gadwall were higher than average while northern shoveler and American wigeon were somewhat lower than average. Diving duck numbers were about three times higher than the average for this week in September. Unusually high concentrations of ruddy duck and ring-necked duck. All time high Refuge counts for both species. Canada Goose numbers right at average.

Total number shorebirds was about 13,000. This is just slightly above the long term average of 12,000. Monthly high count of Greater Yellowlegs and Dowitchers.

Just began filling the main auto-tour-loop wetland unit today (Oct. 1) as river flow has finally increased. All hunt units are either full or have begun to fill with the exception of Units 3H and 3I due to the on-going road construction project. Refuge Road is Open.

Canada Goose 1415 Eared Grebe 8 Long Billed Curlew 3
Mallard 16681 Western Grebe 7 Marbled Godwit 220
Pintail 36272 Clark's Grebe 1 Dowitcher spp. 12,970
Green-winged Teal 33431 A.W. Pelican 189 Franklin's Gull 3379
Cinnamon Teal 3005 DC Cormorant 238 Ring billed gull 2841
Northern Shoveler 23228 Great Blue Heron 54 California gull 249
Gadwall 33806 Snowy Egret 28 Coot 8624
Wigeon 9768 BC Night Heron 14 Sandhill Crane 3
Unk. Dabbler 600 White-faced Ibis 281 Turkey Vulture 2
Canvasback 865 Killdeer 13 Golden Eagle 2
Redhead 1727 Black-necked Stilt 37 Northern Harrier 10
Ring-necked Duck 4033 Am. Avocet 302 Red-tailed Hawk 1
Ruddy Duck 23053 Greater Yellowlegs 53 Peregrine Falcon 1

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Bear River Refuge
Waterbird/Raptor Count

Total waterfowl around 67,000 which is near the long-term average of 71,000 for this week in October but only half of the count from 2005. Total shorebirds around 6,000 which is about double the long-term average. Many of our wetland units remain dry along with Willard Spur. We are now getting our full water allotment as of October 1 to begin re-filling units.

The following birds were observed from the auto tour-route:

Canada Goose 124 Eared Grebe 16 American Avocet 20
Mallard 199 Western Grebe 2 Greater Yellowlegs 28
Northern Pintail 784 Clark's Grebe 1 Long-billed Curlew 6
GW Teal 762 Pelican 79 Marbled Godwit 1550
N. Shoveler 837 DC Cormorant 1   Dowitcher spp. 63
Gadwall 4 GB Heron 4 Ring-billed Gull 408
Redhead 3 Snowy Egret 2 Coot 164
Ruddy Duck 275 Black-bellied Plover 15 Northern Harrier 2

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Waterbird/Raptor Count

Total number of waterfowl around 115,000. The long-term average for this week in November is 231,000. Total shorebirds around 2000, with the long-term average at 2,000 also. On average, waterfowl proportions for this time of year are about 30% pintail, 23% green-winged Teal, 13% mallard, 12% shoveler, 9% gadwall 8%, wigeon, 3% canvasback and 2% ruddy duck. On 11/06 the proportions were 20% pintail, 14% green-winged teal, 13% canvasback, 12% wigeon, 11% gadwall, 9% mallard, 6% northern shoveler, 3% ruddy duck and 1% bufflehead.

Wintering rough-legged hawks and bald eagles moving into the area. Late migrant diving ducks (scaup, common goldeneye, red-breasted merganser and bufflehead) numbers continue to increase. A Refuge record high count of Bonaparte's gull observed and November high count of snow geese. Notable sightings include an American golden plover and several flocks of snow geese. The following birds were observed from the tour route:

Tundra swan 7026 Canvasback 1 Killdeer 17
Snow Goose 252 Scaup 6 Am. Avocet 292
Canada Goose 595 Common goldeneye 271 Greater Yellowlegs 5
Mallard 1883 Bufflehead 103 Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Pintail 3912 Red-breast. Mergan 1 Bonaparte's gull 908
GW Teal 5325 Ruddy Duck 734 Ring billed gull 347
Shoveler 2643 Eared Grebe 12 California gull 61
Gadwall 1677 Western Grebe 8 Am. coot 2112
Wigeon 232 Great Blue heron 13 Northern Harrier 7

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
Waterbird/Raptor Survey

Total waterfowl around 56,000. The average for this week in December is only about 25,000. Numbers are similar to what we had in 2007. Unusual to have greater yellowlegs and dowitchers here at this time of year. First time we have had dowitchers recorded on the Refuge in December since 1941. Other oddities included a very late white-faced ibis, pelicans, and a cinnamon teal in breeding plumage (early or late?). Set Refuge monthly high counts for cinnamon teal, gadwall, redhead, Am. white pelican, killdeer, dowitchers and total shorebirds.

Tundra Swan 10154 Redhead 920 Greater Yellowlegs 8
Canada Goose 1590 Scaup 368 Dowitcher sp. 4
Mallard 9958 C. Goldeneye 2298 Ring Billed Gull 1099
Northern Pintail 9913 Bufflehead 6 Am. Coot 162
Green-winged Teal 8495 Pied-billed Grebe 11 Bald Eagle 33
Cinnamon Teal 1 A.W. Pelican 11 Golden Eagle 3
N. Shoveler 4583 Great Blue Heron 85 Northern Harrier 20
Gadwall 3779 White faced Ibis 1 Rough-legged Hawk 5
Am. Wigeon 1002 Killdeer 6 Loggerhead Shrike 1
Canvasback 2763        

Bridget Olson
Wildlife Biologist
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge


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