Previously Unrecorded Colonies of Ross' and Lesser Snow Geese in the Queen Maud Gulf Bird Sanctuary


  • Ray T. Alisauskas
  • Hugh Boyd



Aerial surveys, Animal behaviour, Animal distribution, Animal population, Bird nesting, Geese, Islands, Lakes, Lesser Snow Geese, Ross' Geese, Wildlife habitat, Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Nunavut


In late June 1990 and 1991, during helicopter surveys of geese on the lowlands south of Queen Maud Gulf in the central Canadian Arctic, we found 26 colonies of nesting Ross' (Chen rossii) and Lesser Snow Geese (Chen c. caerulescens). In the 1960s, colonies were found exclusively on islands in shallow lakes; in 1990-91, only 39% of previously unreported colonies were on such lakes. We suggest that, due to massive growth in local populations of both species, lack of unoccupied nesting sites on islands in small lakes has obliged Ross' and Lesser Snow Geese to select other nesting habitats. Snow and Ross' Geese appear to be expanding toward the coast and westward within the Queen Maud Gulf Bird Sanctuary into areas currently favoured by White-fronted and Canada Geese.

Key words: Snow Geese, Ross’ Geese, goose colonies, Central Arctic, Queen Maud Gulf