The Snow Goose Population Problem

Part I

By Mike Johnson
Game and Fish Migratory Game Bird Management Supervisor

North Dakota Outdoors - August 1996

Most North Dakotans know snow geese. Huge flocks of white and blue "wavies" noisily course our skies, rest in our wetlands and feed in our fields each spring and fall. North Dakota provides important habitats for these magnificent migrators during their twice-annual travels between remote arctic nesting grounds and rich coastal wintering areas.

Perhaps several million snow geese stop here to rest and feed, preparing for migration and reproduction. In October and November, snow geese are a major attraction for waterfowlers.

There are lots of snow geese - and unfortunately, that's a problem. Snow geese are in serious trouble. This growing population is destroying its own habitat. Waterfowl managers, who for generations have tried to restore, build and maintain populations, are now for the first time faced with an overabundant international waterfowl population.

Why is the snow geese population steadily growing? Why is it so large? What can be done about it? OUTDOORS will address these questions in a two-part series. In part one we will take a close look at snow geese, to explore the cause and extent of the problem. Next month, in part two, we'll examine some solutions that are being discussed.

Too Many Geese
The Cause
Snow Goose Populations
Mid-Continent Snows
Breeding Biology
The Problem
Addressing the Problem

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Last Modified Sept. 17, 1996