Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Biology (MS)
Second Committee Member
Abundance, Arkansas, Band Recovery, Canada Goose, Range, Survival
Temperate-nesting Canada geese in Arkansas have grown in abundance and range since reintroduction in the 1980s. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission uses harvest and other methods to maintain the population at desired levels. However, continued management of temperate-nesting geese requires knowledge of the population's demographics and current range to help establish quantifiable management goals.
To assess the need and effect of changing hunting regulations, survival and recovery rates and abundance were estimated for this population. Annual survival rates of temperate-nesting Canada geese banded and recovered in Arkansas from 2005 to 2011 were estimated using the Burnham joint live-dead recovery model in program MARK. Candidate models were created to allow survival to vary by age (adult, young), time (year), and potential hunting pressure (pre- vs. post-liberalization). The abundance of temperate-nesting Canada geese in Arkansas from 2002-2011 was estimated using the Lincoln Index and either an unadjusted Lincoln Index, using a Mississippi Flyway Canada goose harvest rate, or an adjusted Lincoln Index, using a regional harvest rate estimate. Target harvest rates based on the Potential Biological Removal framework were estimated for a range of recovery factors associated with different potential management strategies using model-averaged survival rates and unadjusted Lincoln Index estimates. Despite recent relaxed hunting regulations, neither annual survival rates nor abundance of temperate-nesting Canada geese in Arkansas have declined.
Range from 2004-2012 was estimated using volume contour maps from citizen science observations using eBird and hunter recovery locations from the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory. Dispersal of temperate-nesting Canada geese banded and recovered in Arkansas was examined. Emigration, molt migration, and immigration between Arkansas and other states and provinces was examined using geese banded in Arkansas and recovered elsewhere and geese banded elsewhere and recovered in Arkansas. Emigration and immigration interactions were greatest between Arkansas and Missouri. Molt migrant interactions were greatest between Arkansas and Manitoba and Minnesota. Factors explaining molt migration/emigration were examined, and both age and sex were the best predictors. Overall, geographic analysis indicated the range of temperate-nesting Canada geese in Arkansas is expanding, but individual geese do not frequently move long distances from banding sites.
Ronke, Margaret Eliese, "Survival, Abundance, and Geographic Distribution of Temperate-Nesting Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in Arkansas" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 2356.