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Canadian Geese Defense Response in Urban Settings
Michel, Nastassja
Rikke, Rebecca
Gilbreth, Chloe
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Publication Date:


Conference Papers ( sobekcm )


Collected for Auraria Institutional Repository by the Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Matthew Mariner.
General Note:
Faculty mentor: Christopher Cooley
General Note:
Major: Biology

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Canadian Geese Defense Response in Urban Settings Chloe Gilbreth, Nastassja Michel, Rebecca Rikke Metropolitan State University of Denver


Introduction Canadian geese have adapted to the urban and suburban environments of Colorado and thus have become more tolerant to human disturbances. (Eberhardt et al. 1989, Dzus and Clark 1997, Didiuk and Rusch 1998, Yerkes 2000) Desensitization to these human interactions could bring about more potential harm to these geese. Colorado Parks and Wildlife


When Geese Become A Problem Geese will actively defend their nesting territories in the spring and summer. If geese lack a natural fear of humans they will begin to nest closer to more populated areas such as buildings, parking lots and parks. This can ultimately lead to more goose human conflict during their nesting season and year round flocks staying close to humans ( Titchenell, 2010).


Hypothesis Our hypothesis was that regardless of the size of gaggle (group) of geese, geese in a suburban setting would become alert and react to human disturbance from a further distance away than geese in urban settings.


Materials and Methods Geese will be observed in Boulder (39.971458, 105.247972) and Golden (39.7565, 105.224940), Colorado. Geese flock size and their display of alert to response to a defense display is noted 2015)


Materials and Methods At .5 meters/second, an individual goose from a flock is approached. One marker is dropped at first sign of alert display at disturbance A second marker is then dropped when the goose exhibits any kind of defense response, including fleeing, head forward and head pumping or flipping. (Stafl, N.


Geese Displays horizontal pointed forward neck display. Neck is extended. pumped in a vertical motion (Link, 2005) (Stokes, A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume 1 )


Results P Values: Mean Values: Small Groups Large groups Distance to Alert (m) .6033 .1394 Distance to React (m) .0185 .0481 Distance to Alert small groups (m) Distance to React small groups (m) Distance to Alert Large groups (m) Distance to React large groups (m) Golden 7.313 3.375 10.625 8.750 Boulder 6.429 1.214 3.750 1.625




Results Geese in Golden did not exhibit any signs of aggression and their reactions were limited to fleeing Geese in Boulder exhibited extensive signs of aggression including head pumping, honking, and hissing


Discussion Our hypothesis was supported because the distance to alert and react in Golden was a further than the distance to alert and react in Boulder. This experiment was inconclusive because we did not have a sufficient sample size Inconsistency in measurements also needs to be factored in due difference in length of stride, inconsistency of experimenters, outside environmental influence, and possibility of experimenting on same geese. Possible disparity in reaction from geese in Golden compared to Geese in Boulder could have been due to the nesting season. The nesting season of geese is from mid march to may (Clermont, 2019).


Discussion We tried to base our research of a Pika study ( Stafl, N. & O'connor, 2015 ). The scientists observed how pikas reacted to people to walk around on the trails near For future research Understand aggressive patterns between male and female geese Also compare more of geese aggression during their nesting season and not nesting season


Acknowledgements We would like to thank our teacher Mr. Cooley Also to the geese And those who bravely walked directly toward an aggressive goose


Works Cited et al. Plasticity, state dependency, and individual consistency in Canada goose nest defense behavior. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 73, 66 (2019). https://doi 019 2681 0 Human Wildlife Interactions 4(2):192 201, Fall 2010 Movements, habitat selection, associations, and survival of giant Canada goose broods (Eberhardt et al. 1989, Dzus and Clark 1997, Didiuk and Rusch 1998, Yerkes 2000). Retrieved February 29th, 2020 Link, R. (2005). Canada Geese. Retrieved February 25, 2020, from wildlife/wildlife/wildlife human issues/living with wildlife/geese.html Stafl, N. & O'connor, I. M. (2015). American Pikas' (Ochotona princepts) Foraging Response to Hikers and Sensitivity to Heat in an Alpine Environment. Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, 47(3), 519 527. Retrieved February 7, 2020 from 057 Titchenell, M. A. (2010, March 18). Coping with Canada Geese: Conflict Management and Damage Prevention Strategies. Retrieved from 3