Ripley houses one of the largest and most diverse collections of waterfowl in North America. The collection is managed under a strategic plan which integrates our captive breeding facility with the goals of our programs in research, conservation and education. Over 80 species of Anseriformes, totaling over 400 birds, are maintained at the Conservancy, including representatives from all of the major Anatidae sub-families. Check out our species guide, which lists every bird that you can find at the Conservancy.
The Conservancy's collection plan identifies a series of themed waterfowl groups maintained to support educational outreach, enhance visitor experience, and provide opportunities for behavioral and ecological research. Species compatibility and tolerance of the New England climate are two important considerations of the collection plan. In addition, all species must be included in at least one of the following themed groups:
Threatened and Endangered Species Our collection of rare, threatened, and endangered species serves several purposes at the Conservancy. Maintaining genetically diverse populations in captivity provides a viable source of individuals for future reintroduction programs. Captive flocks also provide an opportunity for behavioral and ecological research of species that are rare in the wild. In addition, these species enhance educational opportunities which highlight the need for conservation.
Diversity of Waterfowl The natural diversity of waterfowl makes them ideal candidates for education programs. With variations in feeding style, appearance, behavior, and habitat requirements, a well-represented collection of species that exhibit such diversity is attractive to all users of the Conservancy.
Sea Ducks Sea ducks are one of the least understood groups of waterfowl due to their remote breeding and wintering habitats. Attractive and vocal, the sea ducks are an endearing group of waterfowl that not only attract researchers, but also serve as a wonderful education tool. Due to their habitat and dietary requirements, sea ducks are difficult to maintain in captivity. Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is one of the few organizations in North America that maintains and breeds sea ducks.
Dillon Ripley's First Captive Breeding Accomplishments Dillon Ripley’s interest in waterfowl and captive preservation led to the success of the first North American breeding for eight species and two subspecies of waterfowl. The majority of these species are currently considered to be threatened in the wild. The Conservancy maintains many of the species that were first bred in captivity by Dillon Ripley, as a tribute to his dedication towards establishing captive populations of vulnerable waterfowl.