Two incidents are reported in which groups of migrating wild geese were found dead in agricultural fields in southern Manitoba during spring. In each case, the birds died overnight and poisoning was suspected; however, the birds had lesions of severe traumatic injury. The first incident, in 1985, involved about 150 lesser snow geese (Anser caerulescens caerulescens); the second, in 2003, involved 62 Canada geese (Branta canadensis). Both incidents occurred on dark, moonless nights. One possible explanation is that the birds became disoriented in a manner analogous to spatial disorientation described in aircraft pilots and flew as a flock directly into the earth. In the first incident, geese might have been frightened by sonic booms from aircraft; in the second, there was a thunderstorm with strong gusty winds in the area.
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Vol. 41 • No. 2