Dispersal and Flock Integrity of Snow Geese in Louisiana and Texas

During the winter 1972-73, 1,000 Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescemp were captured and color-marked at Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Louisiana and 592 at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Texas to determine the distribution patternsand flock integrity. Over 450 subsequent observations of the marked geese on the wintering grounds showed that Snow Geese move considerable distances during the wintering season; most birds dispersed from the capture sites in an east-west direction. Geese from Sabine NWR were observed over an east-west belt 267 miles wide and the Anahuac geese over a belt 183 miles wide. No significant difference was observed between the movements of geese marked early in the winter and those marked late; also. the mean distances that geese had dispersed after a given period of time were similar for both refuges. Snow Geese did not show strong flock integrity; instead. they frequently moved from one area to another. deserting a flock in one area and joining another flock elsewhere. The amount of interchange between flocks was directly associated with the proximity of the flock. The nearer flocks were to each other. the greater the amount of interchange.

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