In many urban metropolitan areas, resident Canada goose (Branta canadensis) populations have grown to nuisance levels in spite of increasing harvest opportunity. To document differences in demographic parameters between urban and rural geese, I estimated probabilities of survival, recapture, recovery, and fidelity for adult resident Canada geese between 2001 and 2006 using banding, live recapture, and dead recovery data from 2 distinct banding locations in Georgia, USA. Adult survival rates were higher for urban geese (0.958, SE = 0.020) than for rural geese (0.682, SE = 0.049). Using estimated recovery probabilities of 0.505 (SE = 0.107) for urban and 0.463 (SE = 0.045) for rural geese, along with current estimates of crippling loss and reporting rate, the estimated mean harvest rate for urban geese was 0.029 (SE = 0.006) and for rural geese was 0.202 (SE = 0.020). Fidelity rates were similar between urban (0.730, SE = 0.033) and rural geese (0.713, SE = 0.069). This information suggests that urban segments of the Canada goose population have substantially higher survival than rural geese and are harvested at a very low rate, and that liberalizing hunting regulations may have little impact on Georgia's urban goose population. Wildlife managers may need to consider options other than sport hunting to control nuisance goose populations in urban areas.
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Vol. 74 • No. 1