Various species of waterfowl can be found throughout the Town of Hempstead at parks, preserves and marinas. They are well adapted to living on the water with flat bills, webbed feet, and waterproof plumage. Major groups of waterfowl include ducks, geese and swans. More species are commonly seen during winter months, when waterfowl migrate to the area for warmer weather. Staff participate in winter waterfowl productivity surveys conducted by State agencies to help set bagging limits.
Hunting waterfowl is a popular form of recreation throughout the Hempstead Bays during winter months. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offers Hunter Education programs to residents including Hunter Safety, Trapper Education, Waterfowl Hunter Education and more. A hunting license is required in New York State to bag waterfowl.
During winter months, Department staff have collaborated with the New York State DEC in an annual Atlantic Brant research project to study site fidelity, migration timing, and breeding productivity. Staff assist the State in capturing and banding Atlantic Brant at various Town parks and collect band resight observations throughout the winter and early spring.