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Giant Canada Goose Flocks in the United States

by
Harvey K. Nelson1 and Robert B. Oetting2

Abstract

Giant Canada Goose

As management of wild migratory populations of Canada geese progressed during the past 40 years, increased attention was given to establishing local breeding populations in the northern tier of states and southern Canada. Experimental transplants and introductions demonstrated that giant Canada geese (Branta canadensis maxima) were best suited for this purpose. We summarized accomplishments through 1990 for the participating states in the 4 flyways, based on current information available for breeding population size, distribution, annual production, and harvest. We addressed current management issues, future management implications, and research needs. The most detailed information was available for the Mississippi Flyway, followed by the Atlantic Flyway, and the eastern portion of the Central Flyway, where giant Canada stocks prevail. Other stocks of Canada geese predominately resident flocks were established in the remainder of the Central Flyway and the Pacific Flyway. These resident flocks also mingle with migratory populations breeding in western United States and southwestern Canada, resulting in uncertainty of origin and racial identity. The rapid increase of local breeding populations in many areas has created a multitude of management problems, often requiring population reduction. Future management programs must seek a balance between the public desire to maintain local populations for viewing and other recreational values, as opposed to their intolerance of increasing numbers of geese and control methods that are becoming necessary.

Keywords:

Branta canadensis, Canada geese, depredation, distribution, giant Canada geese, harvest, population delineation, recruitment, restoration.
This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 1053):
Nelson, Harvey K., and Robert B. Oetting.  1998.  Giant Canada goose 
     flocks in the United States.  Pages 483-495 in D. H. Rusch, M. D. 
     Samuel, D. D. Humburg, and B. D. Sullivan, eds. Biology and management 
     of Canada geese.  Proc. Int. Canada Goose Symp., Milwaukee, Wis.
This resource should be cited as:
Nelson, Harvey K., and Robert B. Oetting.  1998.  Giant Canada goose 
     flocks in the United States.  Pages 483-495 in D. H. Rusch, M. D. 
     Samuel, D. D. Humburg, and B. D. Sullivan, eds. Biology and management 
     of Canada geese.  Proc. Int. Canada Goose Symp., Milwaukee, Wis.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/gcanada/index.htm 
     (Version 16SEP99).

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1U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North American Waterfowl and Wetlands Office, Washington, DC 20240
(Present address: 10515 Kell Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55437)

2U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND 58402 (Deceased)


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