Greater Snow Goose Demographic Studies

Observation protocol

[PDF protocole]

Objectives

  1. Observe the highest number of birds with collars to study migratory movements and survival.
  2. Determine the family status of birds with collars, when possible.

Markers used

Most geese with yellow collars are females. These collars have alphanumerical code with 2 letters [L] and 2 numbers [N] : LLNN, NNLL or LNLN.

Geese with green collars have radio transmitters and are also females. The alphanumerical code has 2 numbers (NN), 2 letters (LL) or 1 number/1 letter (LN or NL).

Geese can also have a plastic band with an individual code of 3 letters [LLL] or 2 letters/1 number [LLN]. The color varies according to years (yellow, red, green, white and black) and also the leg (left or right).


Observations

When a marked goose is spotted, you need to...

  • Read the complete code of the collar or the plastic band (make sure to note the color and, for a band, the left or right leg) of the individual.
  • Note the presence of a partner and young (how many?) with a marked female, if possible.
  • Note the presence of bands (metal and plastic) on the male and/or the young, if possible.
  • When a female with a collar is accompanied by young with plastic bands, note the code of the young's plastic band (with the color and leg), if possible.
  • Indicate the level of certainty of the collar code and the status (1:certain, 2:uncertain).
  • Note the location where the goose was observed.

The determination of the status is optional and is done under good conditions of observation and if there is enough time to do so. To determine the status, we need to follow the marked bird for a period long enough to identify the presence of a partner (male) and young. If the status for either the partner or the number of young is unknown, this must be indicated (there is a code for this particular situation).


Data entry

[Data sheets]

  • The observations of geese with a yellow or green collar are registered on the data sheets OBSERVATION OF GREATER SNOW GEESE WITH COLLARS. When a young with a color band is observed with a marked female, we indicate if the band was read (code 1) or not (code 0) in the column “b_rd” on the sheet OBSERVATION OF GREATER SNOW GEESE WITH COLLARS at the line corresponding to the female's code. This will help make the link between the two databases.
  • The observations of ADULT geese with a color band are registered on the data sheets OBSERVATION OF GREATER SNOW GEESE WITH BANDS (ADULTS). The information collected is the same as for collars but we must also indicate the color of the band as well as the leg (L or R).
  • The observations of YOUNG with a color band (alone or with parents) are registered on the data sheets OBSERVATION OF GREATER SNOW GEESE WITH BANDS (YOUNG). The information collected is the same as for collars but we must also indicate the color of the band, the leg (L or R) as well as the family relations if the case may be.

The 3 types of data sheets described above also contain additional information that should be indicated concerning the location, the habitat and the status (couples and/or young), as well as the list of codes to use. The list of codes is given at the bottom of each data sheet (except for the codes of localities which appear on a separate sheet).


To send us your collar observations

  1. If you only have a few observations, you can simply send them by e-mail and list them in your message or submit them directly on our website in the Collar sightings section.

  2. If you have lots of observations to send us…
  • You can download our datasheets, enter your observations directly in the Excel file and send it back by e-mail
  • You can download and print our datasheets, fill them out and send them by mail
  • You can send us an e-mail and list all your observations in the message.

Thank you in advance for your help,

Marie-Christine Cadieux
Banding manager