Changes in nesting behavior of arctic geese

By:  and 
Edited by: Edward T. LaRoeGaye S. FarrisCatherine E. PuckettPeter D. Doran, and Michael J. Mac



As part of the joint United States-Canada efforts to monitor populations of Arctic geese and to provide data necessary to set hunting regulations, scientists have recorded not only goose population levels, but also nesting behavior. MacInnes et al. (1990) analyzed data from four long-term studies of five different Arctic goose populations. These studies documented the date the eggs hatched and the clutch size (number of eggs per nest) over 35 years (Fig. 1).

The dates of nest initiation and hatch are clearly affected by climate and are delayed by cold weather. The records not only show wide fluctuations from year to year in response to annual variations in climate, but also demonstrate a consistent trend toward earlier hatching over the period (Fig. 2). Young Arctic geese today, on the average, hatch about 30 days earlier than they did 35 years ago; during the same time, average clutch size has shrunk (Fig. 3). MacInnes et al. (1990) suggest the change in nest date is a result of climatic amelioration, that is, warming (although whether from a long-term trend or short-term cycle is unclear), and the change in clutch size is a result of habitat deterioration.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Changes in nesting behavior of arctic geese
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher National Biological Service
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Description 1 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Our living resources: A report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems
First page 388
Last page 388
Country United States
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