Diving ducks and dabblers, geese and swans—it's impossible to imagine Chesapeake Bay without waterfowl. Strategically located along the Atlantic Flyway, the Bay's open water, shallows and marshes beckon irresistibly to resident species as well as to millions of migratory waterfowl in search of rest and food. Various forces have brought change and challenges to the Bay's winged wildlife, yet in their awesome beauty, diversity and sheer numbers, waterfowl remain an integral part of the Chesapeake's story and allure.
The Bay hosts about one-third of all migratory waterfowl wintering on the Atlantic coast. While some species have thrived, others have diminished as natural and human factors have reshaped habitats and food resources. Still, roughly one million of these long-distance travelers call the Bay home during part or all of the year—their presence as much a part of the Bay scene as the water and the sky.