Changing number of Canada geese wintering in different regions of the Atlantic Flyway

OCLC: 41657065 ; Papers and abstracts from the symposium held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 23-25, 1998
Edited by: Donald H. RuschMichael D. SamuelDale D. Humburg, and Brian D. Sullivan


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During the past 40 years, profound changes have occurred in the number of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) wintering in different regions of the Atlantic Flyway. To explain the declining number of wintering geese in the Chesapeake and Carolina regions and the increasing number in the mid-Atlantic region from 1984 to 1989, I tested several hypotheses concerning regional differences in production, survival, and movement. The observation of migratory geese neckbanded in northern Quebec and throughout the winter grounds, and the lack of a regional difference in the proportion of young in the harvest, indicated that regional differences in production on the breeding grounds was unlikely to explain the observed changes in mid-winter number. Average annual survival rates were highest for geese in the Chesapeake and lowest for geese in the mid-Atlantic indicating that differential survival between regions did not cause the large changes in mid-winter numbers between regions. Geese were more likely to move to, and remain in, the Chesapeake than any other region. Estimated movement patterns did not match observed changes in mid-winter counts. Consequently, the observed changes in number of wintering geese from 1984 to 1989 could not be explained by my analyses of differential production, survival, or movement. The survival and movement analyses, however, were based largely on data from migratory, northern breeding geese. In the aerial Midwinter Waterfowl Survey, migratory, northern-breeding geese cannot be distinguished from local, southern-breeding geese. The changes in mid-winter numbers may result from declining numbers of migratory, northern-breeding geese wintering in the Chesapeake and Carolinas and increasing numbers of local, southem-breeding geese remaining in the mid-Atlantic.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Changing number of Canada geese wintering in different regions of the Atlantic Flyway
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher location Milwaukee, WI
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description xvii, 515
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title Biology and management of Canada geese: proceedings of the International Canada Goose Symposium
First page 211
Last page 219