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Body Condition and Nutrition of Snow Geese Wintering in Southeastern Texas

William C. Hobaugh
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 1028-1037
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801390
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801390
Page Count: 10
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Body Condition and Nutrition of Snow Geese Wintering in Southeastern Texas
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Abstract

The body condition and nutrition of wintering lesser snow geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) were studied in a rice-producing area of southeastern Texas during two winters (Oct-Mar), 1978-80. The diet of geese changed completely from rice (Oct-Nov) to sprouting green vegetation (Jan). The nutritional values of these diets were different and were accompanied by changes in gizzard weight and fat reserves. The quality and quantity of wintering-ground food resources apparently were not limiting factors that adversely affected the body condition of snow geese. Adult males (N = 195) and females (N = 192) maintained their energy reserves during the wintering period (except in Dec), and left in March in essentially the same body condition they were in when they arrived. Immature males (N = 174) and females (N = 142) increased (P < 0.05) their energy reserves during the wintering period. The "rice-prairie" wintering grounds provided all of the resources required by snow geese to meet their winter metabolic demands for body maintenance (adults) and growth (immatures). Adult snow geese leave the wintering grounds in March prior to making large increases in their overall energy reserves.

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