Abundance, distribution, movement, and mortality of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in Nanaimo, British Columbia

Stewart Pearce1 and Eric Demers2

1 2211 Meredith Road, Nanaimo, B.C., V9S 2N2; stew.pearce@shaw.ca
2 Corresponding author: Biology Department, Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth St., Nanaimo, B.C., V9R 5S5; eric.demers@viu.ca

Abstract: Since being introduced to Vancouver Island in the 1960s and 1970s, the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) has become increasingly abundant. Abundant goose populations have been implicated in human-goose conflicts in recreational areas, and causing significant damage to estuaries and crops. A few communities have developed management strategies to address these impacts, but planning for such strategies in Nanaimo has been limited by a lack of information about the abundance, distribution, and movement patterns of the local goose population. The goal of this study was to assess the Canada Goose population within the City of Nanaimo and nearby outlying areas, in order to support a management strategy for the Canada Goose population in the Nanaimo area. This objective was achieved using a combination of regular count surveys and bird banding. To monitor movements of Nanaimo-area geese, 400 individuals were captured (200 in June 2016 and 200 in June 2017) and fitted with metal leg bands and plastic neck collars. Results from regular surveys suggest that Canada Goose abundance in Nanaimo fluctuated seasonally. The majority of the Canada Goose population on Vancouver Island was thought to be resident; however, sightings of collared individuals indicate that much of the population (52%) may actually disperse seasonally. This study documented seasonal abundance and distribution in Nanaimo as well as local, regional, and long-distance movement of collared Canada Geese. This information can provide a basis for informed management decisions.

Key words: Canada Goose; Branta canadensis; bird banding; neck collar; VIU Bird Banding Project; Nanaimo; Vancouver Island.

PDFicon Pearce, S. and E. Demers. 2019. Abundance, distribution, movement, and mortality of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in Nanaimo, British Columbia. British Columbia Birds 29:36–43.

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