Distribution and use of brood-rearing and moulting sites of the Atlantic population of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in Nunavik, Quebec


  • Richard C. Cotter Canadian Wildlife Service, 801 — 1550 Avenue d’Estimauville, Québec, Quebec G1J 0C3




Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, Atlantic population, brood-rearing, moulting areas, dispersal, Nunavik, Quebec, Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay


The Atlantic population of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) nests in the coastal lowlands of eastern Hudson Bay and southwestern Ungava Bay in Nunavik, Quebec. Although many aspects of the nesting ecology of this and other northern populations of Canada Geese have been studied and published, there is a paucity of information on the use of brood-rearing and moulting sites. Based on 18 years of band and recapture data from an ongoing banding program, this paper presents the distribution of brood-rearing and moulting sites and the use of these sites over time. Along Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay, the most important brood-rearing and moulting areas are the stretch of coastal lowlands between the Mariet River and Shallow Bay and between Rivière aux Feuilles and Virgin Lake, respectively. Of all adult geese captured during the banding program (n = 41 924), 7.5% (standard error [SE] 0.13%) were recaptures, that is, birds that had previously been caught and banded; annual recapture rates ranged from 5.1% to 11.4%. The mean and median distances between the site of first recapture and the original site of capture were 4.3 km (SE 0.22 km) and 1.5 km, respectively. Juveniles moved, on average, 5.4 km farther than adults and males moved 1.4 km farther than females. Among geese banded as juveniles, males moved twice as far as females: 11.5 km versus 5.7 km.