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Mid-Content snow geese are the most abundant of all snow geese, with an
annual population index approaching 3 million birds. The objective for
this population is 1-1.5 million birds as measured by the annual mid-December
wintering ground survey. This survey provides an index, or measurement
that is repeatable and therefore comparable from one year to the next.
It is not a complete count of all birds.
Recent surveys indicate a population which is twice what managers believe
is desirable. In reality, the population may number 6 million or more birds.
Data we have shows this population has grown about four percent per year
during the past 10 years. Some groups are increasing at an even faster
Unlike Canada geese that establish relatively large territories for nesting,
snow geese nest in large colonies, ranging from a few hundred to more than
100,000 birds. These colonies are generally located in the more fertile
areas of the arctic - on coastal river deltas and sometimes around inland
lakes. Because most of the arctic is rock or water with little in the way
of significant vegetation - these areas are oases which provide significant
food resources (grasses and sedges) to growing goslings and molting adults.
We know the most about snow geese that nest on the west coast of Hudson
Bay, especially at LaPerouse Bay and surrounding areas east of Churchill.
LaPerouse Bay is the site of an extensive study initiated by Dr. Fred Cooke
in 1968. Dr. Robert Rockwell and other researchers are continuing and expanding
this long-term study. The Central Flyway Council , of which North Dakota
is a member, provides significant funding for this work. This study has
produced much of what is known about snow goose ecology and the arctic ecosystem
on which they depend.
The LaPerouse Bay population has increased at eight percent per year for
at least the last 30 years. Only 2000 pairs nested at LaPerouse Bay in
1968. By 1990, the colony had expanded to more than 22,500 pairs.
Retrun to Snow Goose Crisis
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