Pete Walker photo. Geese on the South Platte.
The 2009 goose breeding season is off to a bad start.
Late spring snow has brought the northern goose migration to a standstill according to Ducks Unlimited.
On June 2, Dr. Robert Rockwell reported between 5 and 10 million light geese staging in Manitoba on the west side of Hudson’s Bay.
That means few birds have migrated further north. When birds are this late starting nests, they have to rely on fat reserves stored before the northern migration.
The Canada goose breeding season is suffering from the same snowy weather.
The eastern Arctic region is suffering the most, but snow cover maps show the conditions may also extend into the central Arctic.
Light goose populations are still above manageable levels, so a bust of a breeding season won’t hurt the hunting much. Canada and white-front geese are another matter.
The delayed breeding season can result in fewer nesting attempts, smaller clutch sizes, poor nest success and fewer immature birds for the migration.
The result will be fewer birds migrating with a majority being older birds who have experience evading hunters.