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Giant Canada Goose Flocks in the United States

Research Needs and Conclusions


Research Needs

Urban goose populations likely will continue to increase, and public tolerance levels will be exceeded. This will require more direct management actions by federal, state, and provincial agencies to reduce populations of these geese to acceptable levels. These actions will require better information on breeding ecology, seasonal population dynamics, and racial differences. We suggest that future research be directed toward the following: (1) development of new techniques for limiting annual reproduction and enhancing population reduction; (2) assessment of habitat utilization to determine conditions or management practices that might discourage nesting and other area use; (3) development of new chemical and physical repellents and deterrents to protect property; (4) expansion of socio-economic studies to aid in development of model urban goose management plans; (5) development of new techniques for inducing migratory behavior in nonmigratory flocks; (6) improved understanding of breeding ecology and population dynamics of local and regional flocks; (7) improved census, survey, and identification techniques to distinguish giant Canada geese from other populations of Canada geese in the 3 eastern flyways; and (8) development and application of new techniques for determining morphological and physiological characteristics that will permit more specific identification and classification of other races of Canada geese, especially in the Central and Pacific flyways.

Conclusions

The rapid expansion of giant Canada geese in Canada and the U.S. during the past 40 years is one of wildlife management's great success stories. However, the adaptation of these geese to urban environments and their ability to reproduce successfully at middle and southern latitudes also is creating new management problems. Some populations have increased within a relatively short time. The challenge is to quickly develop and apply appropriate management strategies.

Undoubtedly, resident populations of Canada geese will continue to expand if public agencies, private organizations, and the public are willing to deal with the social costs. Innumerous cases throughout the U.S. and Canada, managers have been unable to control expanding resident Canada goose populations with socially acceptable methods. Managers confronted with increasing populations of resident geese must grapple with 3 issues: (1) population size, (2) necessary and/or acceptable control methods, and (3) the seasonal affiliation with other Canada goose populations. The resolution of these issues will guide future management.


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