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Woodbine, NJ, United States

Nichols T.C.,201 County Route 631
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2014

Intensive grazing by Atlantic Flyway Resident Population Canada geese (Branta canadensis) has been shown to dramatically reduce wild rice (Zizania aquatica) abundance in tidal freshwater marshes in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. From 2001 to 2010, I implemented an integrated damage management program (IDMP) during spring to abate Canada goose herbivory to wild rice in tidal freshwater marshes of the Maurice River, New Jersey, USA. The IDMP consisted of shooting, rendering goose nests unhatchable, and euthanizing molting geese. With implementation of an IDMP, the number of nests on the study area declined 70% over 10 years and the number of geese declined over time. Consequently, the amount of IDMP effort needed to sustain rice was reduced. Because the study area was a key nesting site for ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), which are state-threatened species, there was concern that disturbance from IDMP activities could have a negative impact on osprey nesting or recruitment. The mean annual numbr of nesting ospreys doubled and the mean number of young fledged/nest was similar between years prior to and during implementation of the IDMP, suggesting that the IDMP did not have a negative impact on ospreys. Wetland managers should consider damage from excessive herbivory caused by non-native, breeding waterfowl, such as resident Canada geese or mute swans (Cygnus olor), in their suite of wetland mitigation strategies. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. Source

Guerena K.B.,University of Delaware | Castelli P.M.,Nacote Creek Research Station | Nichols T.C.,201 County Route 631 | Williams C.K.,University of Delaware
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2012

Disruption associated with nest visits during the hatch period of waterfowl can cause partial abandonment of hatchlings, potentially causing bias in the survival of marked birds. We evaluated the use of a mesh clutch-containment bag to capture and mark entire broods of 151 resident Canada goose (Branta canadensis) nests, prior to hatch, while minimizing observer-caused disruption during brooding. The study was conducted in New Jersey, USA, from April to June 2010. No differences were found in hatch success or the number of hatchlings marked between contained clutches and the control group. Although this technique was not beneficial in studying gosling survival in temperate nesting populations, it may be effective in subArctic nesting conditions where nest visits are conducted using a more invasive approach such as a helicopter. © 2012 The Wildlife Society. Source

Washburn B.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Elbin S.B.,New York City Audubon | Davis C.,201 County Route 631
Waterbirds | Year: 2016

During the 20th century, gull populations in North America experienced considerable changes in abundance and geographic ranges. The objective of this study was to describe population trends of Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) and Great Black-backed Gulls (L. marinus) in the New York Bight, USA, over a 40-year period (1974-2013). A variety of data sources using different survey methods provided estimates of the number of breeding pairs for both species. In the Long Island portion of the New York Bight, overall Herring and Great Black-backed gull nesting populations appear to have fluctuated considerably in size during this time period, and the largest numbers of breeding individuals of these two species occurred in the 1980s. In coastal New Jersey, the Herring Gull nesting population has remained relatively constant, whereas the Great Black-backed Gull nesting population has increased. Individual nesting colonies are dynamic and can vary in size considerably during even short time periods. Several factors, including sea-level changes and the availability of anthropogenic food sources (i.e., at landfills and fisheries by-catch), likely have strongly influenced individual colonies and the overall Herring and Great Blackbacked gull breeding populations in the New York Bight. Source

Beston J.A.,University of Delaware | Williams C.K.,University of Delaware | Nichols T.C.,201 County Route 631 | Castelli P.M.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2015

Resident Population Canada geese (Branta canadensis) are a valuable natural resource, but at high densities they create problems by colliding with vehicles, damaging crops, and fouling parks with feces. Effective management of these geese could be improved with knowledge of demographic rates, especially survival. We used band recovery data from 2005 to 2012 to estimate temporally and spatially explicit survival and recovery rates of Atlantic Flyway Resident Population Canada geese. We analyzed the data in Program MARK and found evidence that survival and recovery varied by age, state of banding, and year. We present state-age-year survival, recovery, and harvest rates from all states. Model-averaged estimates of adult survival ranged from 0.62 to 0.87 and had high precision for most states. Estimates of survival of juvenile geese were generally higher than those for adult geese, but they were less precise and more variable among states. Based on estimates of survival and recovery rates, the average annual harvest rate of adult geese was 13.5% and ranged from 3.1% in North Carolina to 20.1% in Pennsylvania, USA. Harvest rates of juvenile geese were not significantly different from those of adult geese and averaged 15.3%. The estimated survival and harvest rates can be incorporated into population models to assess potential effectiveness of various management strategies for Resident Population Canada geese. © 2015 The Wildlife Society. Source

Beston J.A.,University of Delaware | Beston J.A.,University of Wisconsin - Stout | Williams C.K.,University of Delaware | Nichols T.C.,201 County Route 631 | Castelli P.M.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2016

Highly abundant resident Canada geese (Branta canadensis) cause property damage throughout their range. Effective reduction and management of these populations requires knowledge of their population dynamics and responses to management actions. We used data from New Jersey, USA, and other resident Canada goose populations to produce stage-structured matrix models for resident Canada geese from both urban and rural landscapes. We ran stochastic simulations to assess 3 management activities for Atlantic Flyway Resident Population Canada geese: harvest, nest treatment, and cull. Unrealistic harvest rates, in excess of 10% for urban geese, would be needed to reduce the urban population to target levels within 10 years in the absence of other management activities. Nest treatment to prevent hatching is less controversial than culling adults, but as many as 62% of eggs in urban areas would need to be treated annually to sufficiently reduce the mean stochastic population growth rate. Cull would be the most effective way to achieve the population goal, but current cull rates are insufficient to reduce the urban population. Although reduction of urban geese was a challenge, current management activities in rural populations appeared to be sufficient to reduce populations. We also provide a simple spreadsheet tool for managers who want to explore management options for other resident Canada goose populations by inserting relevant vital rate estimates for their populations and manipulating management activities. © The Wildlife Society, 2016. Source

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