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Variation in age ratio of midcontinent greater white-fronted geese during fall migration

June 1, 2018

Annual productivity is an important parameter for the management of waterfowl populations. Fall age ratio (juveniles:total birds) is an index of productivity of the preceding breeding season. However, differences in the timing of migration between family groups and nonbreeding birds may bias age-ratio estimates. We examined temporal variation in age ratios of midcontinent greater white-fronted geese Anser albifrons frontalis from interior and northwestern Alaska at a northern autumn staging area near Delta Junction, Alaska. Photographic sampling conducted near Delta Junction resulted in an annual age ratio of 0.388 ± 0.004 (mean ± SE) in 2010 and 0.390 ± 0.001 in 2011. Our study demonstrated temporal variation in age ratios over the duration of the migration period during August and September. We recommend that sampling be conducted for 3-d periods at the beginning, middle, and end of the migration period to account for temporal variation in migration of family groups.

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