Update on West Coast Goose Study

Dr. Mark Petrie of Ducks Unlimited recently gave an update to DU’s Alaska Convention on an important study taking place along the West Coast.

California’s Central Valley has seen goose numbers triple to nearly three million birds over the past 15 years. Researchers are increasingly concerned that geese will compete with ducks for this food if their numbers continue to grow, which may someday reduce the numbers of ducks that the Central Valley can support.

With those concerns in mind, Ducks Unlimited researchers recently captured over 100 geese (snow geese, ross’s geese, and white-fronted geese) and fitted them with satellite transmitters as part of a multi-year study looking to answer several important questions, including the likelihood that geese are competing with ducks for food. Researchers are also interested in finding whether northern nesting colonies are supplying the Central Valley with most of its geese, including those in Alaska.