A Comparison Of Nesting In Canada Geese Used For Establishing Home-Grown Flocks

A plan was initiated in 1960 for establishing a local nesting colony of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana; however, little information was available on Canada goose nesting along the gulf coast. Previous reports on establishing local nesting populations dealt mostly with attempts in north central and northeastern states (U.S. Department of the Interior, 1958; Clark and Nightingale, 1960). Therefore, much of the earlier work on this project was experimental in nature. The purpose of this study was to compare the breeding behavior of Canada geese of different source and age groups and to evaluate the value of each group toward the establishment of a home-grown flock. The comparison of Canada geese from different sources was made by determining the percentage of adult birds in each group which nested. The groups compared were: hand-reared giant Canada geese (B. c. maxima), wildtrapped Canada geese (B. c. interior), and locally-hatched geese, which were mostly B. c. interior. Two age groups were compared among the wild-trapped birds. One group consisting of 500 young, was brought to the refuge in 1968 when only two weeks old. The young were transported to Rockefeller Refuge soon after hatching and reared on the area. The geese were banded and permitted to fly to determine if they would remain in the area. The other age group of wild-trapped Canada geese were captured as adults and taken with cannon net on Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. This group consisted of 1,500 geese and were trucked to Rockefeller Refuge in November 1963, wing-clipped to prevent flight, banded, and released in a 200acre enclosure. The adults were held on the refuge for 2 years by subsequent wing-clippings during the summers of 1964 and 1965. They were not wingclipped during 1966 and were permitted to fly to determine if they would remain on the area after being held there for 2 years.

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