Nesting by Canada Geese on Baffin Island, Nunavut

Keywords: Arctic, Branta canadensis, breeding range, Canada Goose, egg size, genetics, nesting, Nunavut

Abstract

Outside of northern Quebec, there is little evidence to confirm reports of nesting by Canada Geese in Arctic habitats of North America, but they nest regularly in the Arctic tundra of West Greenland, from about 62˚ N to as far north as 76.96˚ N, 71.11˚ W. In 2013, we documented successful nesting by a pair of Canada Geese on northern Baffin Island (71.36˚ N, 79.59˚ W), approximately 1200 km north of the nearest known site of regular nesting by this species in northern Quebec. Photographs, egg measurements, and mitochondrial DNA evidence confirmed that these were Canada Geese. Egg laying began around 17 June, the nest of five eggs hatched on 18 July, and we determined that fledging should have occurred around 20 September. Daily mean temperatures on northern Baffin Island fell below freezing after 5 September 2013, and we suspect that the probability of recruitment for this brood was very low. Climate warming in the Arctic is likely to favor northward range expansion by Canada Geese.

Published
2015-08-13