Canada Goose Banding

Canada geese are banded in several portions of the Flyway annually with many of the same objectives as for ducks: to learn about production of young, to map the distribution and timing of the harvest and to calculate survival and recovery rates. The average annual number banded in the CF between 1994-98 was 6,300 birds, including Alberta and Saskatchewan. Between 1970 and 1998, 243,000 Canada geese were banded in the same area.

Banding typically takes place in late-June and early-July at a time when adults molt their flight feathers and cannot fly and the goslings are not yet able to fly. Birds are driven with boats, helicopters and/or people walking into a trap. The sex of each bird is determined and birds are classified into one of two age classes - gosling or adult - before a band is put on one leg.

Biologists are certain that the goslings are from the lake where the banding is taking place or nearby. However, some adults - mostly non-breeding two-year olds - travel long distances to molt in what is called a "molt migration." Since some of these birds travel back to their natal areas (where they hatched) before the hunting season, their presence in the banded population can confound the ability of biologists to analyze the recoveries. However, much is learned about Canada goose populations through banding.