[CT Birds] Scarcity of Ducks

paul cianfaglione pcianfaglione at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 7 11:06:51 EST 2009

I agree with Greg and Dave's comments on the scarcity of ducks in Long Island Sound. I too sometimes find myself rushing to judgment on certain trends I see during a given year or assume a species is not doing well since they no longer nest in numbers as they did a few years back. I now believe (as do others) that one needs to step back a bit and take a good look at the big picture with data from long term studies. Greg is correct to mention that one winter does not make a trend and that it is impossible to judge a species well-being in a short time frame. 

Many of today's research on birds consider five years to be a long-term study.I don't believe any real conclusion can be made in that time unless your dealing with a minute or confined  population of birds. Waterfowl populations for years have been carefully monitored by the Fish and Wildlife Service; their numbers may be more readily available and more accurate. E-bird should provide great information on future short-term regional waterfowl studies. E-bird might even become an important tool for long-term population studies.  

Speaking of e-bird, the most recent issue of North American Birds has a great article about the 2007-2008 winter season (The Changing Season, by Edward S. Brinkley) in which e-bird reports provided much of the information for last winters finch invasion. Check it out!


Paul Cianfaglione


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