The spring nesting period in 2004 has definitely be the latest and coldest on record. Unusually heavy snow pack and delayed snow melt has meant that many geese that would normally be nesting in this region of the Hudson Bay Lowlands have been forced to abandon the idea of nesting for 2004.
Researchers arriving at camp on June 7 found snow still drifted over the 9 foot high polar bear fence that surrounds the camp. For those few geese that did arrive on this portion of the breeding grounds in early June, there just were not any areas free of snow to build a nest. Temperatures slightly above 0° C slowed the melting process to the point that geese attempting to nest were at least three weeks later than normal. Production of young will be very limited this year, causing great concern for managers right down the flyway.
Despite the poor nesting effort this spring, the banding program for 2004 will go ahead on schedule. Banders will likely spend more time this year flying and searching for flocks of productive geese. For the winners of the Delta banding trip, this will be a great opportunity to see the arctic with its magnificent and abundant wildlife as well as getting some hands on experience with banding. Good luck!
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