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Roost Sites and Flight Patterns of Canada Geese in Winter

Dennis G. Raveling
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1969), pp. 319-330
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799831
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799831
Page Count: 12
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Roost Sites and Flight Patterns of Canada Geese in Winter
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Abstract

Observation of a large wintering flock of Canada geese (Branta canadensis interior) revealed the existence of relatively exclusive subflocks which consistently utilized specific areas for roosting and maintained recognizable patterns of flight direction. Roost and feed-field locations of radio-marked geese showed that consistent patterns were a result of habitual use of areas by families whereas single geese were more variable. Habitual patterns are apparently motivated by fear of unfamiliar situations and function to enable family members to reunite after separation occurs, to aid efficient use of food, and to minimize the amount and intensity of aggressive conflicts within a flock. Roost and flight patterns of singles varied because of their following nature and submissive rank position within the flock. It is suggested that some subflocks represent a continued association of geese from the same local nesting area rather than just local stratification after migration. Subflock formation in some cases could affect local (or even total) harvest and interpretation of banding and other sampling data in the study of goose populations.

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