Aerobic and facultatively anaerobic bacteria from the intestinal tracts of swans and geese were isolated and characterized as part of a larger study of the microbiological effects of migratory waterfowl on water quality. A total of 356 isolates were identified by using rapid identification methods and classified by using numerical taxonomy. A diverse population of bacteria was recovered from the waterfowl, and representative strains could be classified into 21 phena. The majority of the aerobic, heterotrophic bacteria found in the gut of the waterfowl were species of Enterobacteriaceae. Streptococcus. Lactobacillus, and Bacillus. Unfortunately, the birds that were examined did not harbor significant numbers of any waterfowl-specific bacterial species. Thus, it may not be possible to assess microbiological impact of migratory waterfowl by using and "indicator" species since avian fecal pollution could not be distinguished from animal and human fecal pollution.