Spatially-explicit land use effects on nesting of Atlantic Flyway resident Canada geese in New Jersey

Atlantic Flyway resident population (AFRP) Canada geese Branta canadensis in New Jersey, USA, have grown dramatically during the last thirty years and are considered as overabundant in many areas. Development of corporate parks and urban areas with manicured lawns and artificial ponds offer ideal nesting habitat for AFRP geese, with limited pressure from hunting or natural predators. As a result, spatial heterogeneity in reproduction must be taken into account in managing the population. We identified the site and landscape spatial scale extents at which land use features influenced nest site selection and nest success. Nest searches were conducted throughout the State during 2009—2010, and 309 nests were monitored through hatch to determine their fates. We ran a spatial correlation analysis of land use composition to identify spatial scale extents at which geese most considerably respond to their environment for nest site selection and nest success. All significant spatial scale extents were at or below 2.25 km for the five classified land use types. We emphasize that habitat-goose associations in densely urban areas were strongest at extents < 1 km, while rural and natural areas were strongest at extents > 1 km. Geese responded to human-dominated land uses at a smaller spatial scale extent than land uses with low human density. The strength of all nest-land use univariate relationships was low; however, our primary objective was to identify the scales extent at which geese associate with land use, rather than the intensity. We encourage managers to consider these scale-dependent associations in identifying important habitat variables in multivariate models; and if population control of AFRP Canada geese is of primary interest, then focusing on local habitat management will most likely have the largest influence in managing this population.
This article was originally published in Wildlife Biology. The version of record is available at: © 2014 The Authors.
life on land
Guerena, Katherine B., Paul M. Castelli, Theodore C. Nichols, and Christopher K. Williams. “Spatially‐explicit Land Use Effects on Nesting of Atlantic Flyway Resident Canada Geese in New Jersey.” Wildlife Biology 20, no. 2 (April 2014): 115–21.