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Habitat Management for Migrating and Wintering
Canada Geese: A Moist-Soil Alternative

Jane E. Austin1, Dale D. Humburg2
and Leigh H. Fredrickson3

GIF -- picture of geese

Abstract: We integrate information from unpublished studies in Missouri to discuss the value of moist-soil habitat for migrating and wintering Canada geese (Branta canadensis). Where available, geese used moist-soil areas both for feeding and roosting in fall and spring. Foraging methods shifted from surface feeding on vegetation and seeds in fall to increased digging for roots and tubers in spring. Use of moist-soil areas seemed to be related to their proximity to upland fields and timing of flooding relative to food depletion in uplands. Native seeds provided valuable protein and amino acids to the diet and complemented traditional high-energy foods such as corn and milo. Leaves, stems, roots, and tubers were important in the diet of geese in southern Missouri. A combination of moist-soil and row crop management practices would ensure production and availability of food over a range of environmental conditions as well as enhance the diversity of foods and habitats available to geese, ducks, and other wetland birds.

Key words: Branta canadensis, Canada geese, food habits, habitat use, management, moist-soil.


This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 1059):
Austin, Jane E., Dale D. Humburg, and Leigh H. Fredrickson.  1998.  Habitat 
     Management for Migrating and Wintering Canada Geese:  A Moist-Soil 
     Alternative.  Pages 291-297 in D.H. Rusch, M.D. Samuel, D.D. Humburg, 
     and B.D. Sullivan, eds. Biology and management of Canada geese.  Proc. 
     Int. Canada Symp., Milwaukee, Wis.
This resource should be cited as:
Austin, Jane E., Dale D. Humburg, and Leigh H. Fredrickson.  1998.  Habitat 
     Management for Migrating and Wintering Canada Geese:  A Moist-Soil 
     Alternative.  Pages 291-297 in D.H. Rusch, M.D. Samuel, D.D. Humburg, 
     and B.D. Sullivan, eds. Biology and management of Canada geese.  Proc. 
     Int. Canada Symp., Milwaukee, Wis.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie 
     Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/cangeese/index.htm 
     (Version 8OCT99).

Table of Contents


1Gaylord Memorial Laboratory, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Columbia, Puxico, MO 63960 (Present address: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711 37th Street SE, Jamestown, ND 58401)
2Missouri Department of Conservation, 1110 S. College Ave., Columbia, MO 65201
3Gaylord Memorial Laboratory, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri Columbia, Puxico, MO 63960
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