We studied the behavior of geese on exposed river ice during spring on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The predominant behavior while on the ice for both sexes was foraging; however, females foraged more than males. Visual inspection of the ice revealed no potential plant or animal food items. However, numerous small (<20 man) clam shells (Macoma balthica) and pieces of shell were noted. It appeared that geese were foraging on empty clam shells. This potential source of calcium was available to breeding geese just prior to egg formation and geese likely stored this calcium in the form of medullary bone for use during egg formation.
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Observations of geese foraging for clam shells during spring on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska