Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

John T. Ratti

Second Advisor

Charles G. Scalet


Nesting and brood rearing biology of Vancouver Canada geese (Branta canadensis fulva) was studied in 1978 (preliminary) and from April-August 1979 in Seymour Canal, Admiralty Island, Alaska. Geese used trees for perching during the incubation period (24 April-7 June) and use was significant (P < .0001) for early morning hours. This behavior is considered unique among all Canada goose subspecies. An average of 86.3 search hours were conducted for each of 19 active nests located in 1979. Seven additional nests from previous years were also located. Twenty-two nests were located in forest habitat •. All forest nests were in association with vegetation similar to vegetation described for U.S. Forest Service classification of F4 and F5 (poorly drained) soil types. Mean clutch size was 4.4 ± 1.3 eggs. Mean egg length and width were 86.1 mm± 3.14 and 56.4 mm± 2.76, respectively. Success of all nests hatching at least one egg was 55.6%. Egg hatching success of successful nests was 95.7%. Total hatching success of all eggs was 62.0%. Forest habitat was used extensively for brood rearing. Broods generally avoided large bodies of water. Single family broods were found most often in forest habitat while creches were more common in meadows and intertidal zones. Breeding adults and goslings were comparatively less vocal in the forest. Goslings less than 2 weeks of age used forest habitat extensively and shifted to forest edge and intertidal zones with age. Forest habitats, rather than open water, were used as escape cover by breeding adults and broods. Nesting and brood rearing habitat was similar, thus, nest site selection may be closely tied to requirements for brood rearing habitat. Molting, non-breeding or unsuccessful breeding geese also used forest habitat freely and avoided observers by fleeing into the forest. Use of habitat compared to tide stage was significant (P < .0001) and may be a function of availability. Habitat use compared to daily time periods appeared to reflect feeding activity peaks in early morning and late afternoon. Adult geese primarily used the intertidal zone during pre-incubation; the grassy intertidal zone was used more during incubation and post-incubation. Skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanum) comprised 23.8% aggregate of foods utilized and appeared to be the most important food during brood rearing. Goslings and molting geese also utilized sea lettuce (Ulva spp.) and blueberry (Yaccinium spp.) berries. Plant matter comprised the bulk of food items.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Canada goose
Geese -- Admiralty Island (Alaska)
Birds -- Breeding


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-72)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only