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Each year more than 6,000 migrant Canada geese (Branta canadensis interior Todd) rest for 3 to 10 days during the months of March, October, November, and December on Wintergreen Lake, a productive 15 ha (33 acre) hardwater lake in the W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary of Michigan State University in southwestern Michigan. For the past six years accurate weekly counts have been made of resident and migrant waterfowl using Wintergreen Lake. During the past four years Wintergreen Lake has been the site of extensive limnological investigations relating nutrient dynamics and primary productivity. These limnological investigations suggested nutrients contributed by migrant Canada geese were the chief cause of hypereutrophic primary productivity conditions in Wintergreen Lake. Until January 1970, the unpredictable habits of wild Canada geese using Wintergreen Lake prevented accurate estimation of nutrients contributed ton the lake in the form of goose feces. An opportunity to measure this source of nutrients was presented on 9 to 11 January 1970 when about 600 late fall migrant Canada geese rested part of three days in a clearly defined area on newly fallen snow covering frozen Wintergreen Lake. During their stay on the lake accurate records were kept of goose numbers, their location on the lake surface, hours spent on the ice and hours spent feeding off the lake. After the geese left on 11 January 1970, a random sampling procedure was used to measure the density of droppings deposited within the area used by the geese on the lake surface.
Additional Publication Details
Annual contribution of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus by migrant Canada geese to a hardwater lake
International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology