Arctic geese often use spring migration stopover areas when feeding habitats are partially snow covered. Melting of snow during the stopover period causes spatial and temporal variability in distribution and abundance of feeding habitat. We recorded changes in snow cover and lesser snow goose Anser caerulescens caerulescens distribution on a spring migration stopover area in south-central Alaska during aerial surveys in 1993–1994. Our objectives were to determine whether geese selected among areas with different amounts of snow cover and to assess how temporal changes in snow cover affected goose distribution. We also measured temporal changes in chemical composition of forage species after snow melt. We divided an Arc/Info coverage of the approximately 210 km2 coastal stopover area into 2-km2 cells, and measured snow cover and snow goose use of cells. Cells that had 10–49.9% snow cover were selected by snow geese, whereas cells that lacked snow cover were avoided. In both years, snow cover diminished along the coast between mid-April and early May. Flock distribution changed as snow geese abandoned snow-free areas in favour of cells where snow patches were interspersed with bare ground. Snow-free areas may have been less attractive to geese because available forage had been quickly exploited as bare ground was exposed, and because soils became drier making extraction of underground forage more difficult. Fiber content of two forage species increased whereas non-structural carbohydrate concentrations of forage plants appeared to diminish after snow melt, but changes in nutrient concentrations likely occurred too slowly to account for abandonment of snow-free areas by snow geese.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 7 • No. 3