A radio telemetry study of the incubation behavior and egg temperatures of the Canada goose (Branta canadensis interior) in the Hudson Bay Lowlands

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Stenhouse, Gordon Bruce
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This study was conducted to investigate the incubation behavior of female Canada geese, as well as to determine the care provided to the eggs during undisturbed incubation. Contradictory or no data exists on several facets of incubation in the Canada goose. The principle reason for this problem is the methodological difficulties involved in trying to obtain data in the field without distubing the nesting females. During the spring of 1979 five Canada goose (Branta canadensis interior) nests were studied on the Hudson Bay Lowlands in northern Manitoba... Data on environmental factors was gathered during this study to determine if they exerted any influence or incubation behavior... Behavioral data indicated that there were five readily distinguishable postures seen while the female was incubating... Nest attendance for the successful nests averaged 95.03% over the entire incubation period... There was a significant effect of stage of incubation on all three egg temperatures, but only a small percentage of observed variance was accounted for by the stage of incubation... The data on egg turning did not support previous research which stated that egg turning was directly related to the weight characteristics of the eggs. The present study showed a great deal of variation in the number of turns of each study egg received... The results indicate that incubating female Canada geese have a high degree of nest attentiveness, provide a relatively stable thermal and physical environment for their eggs, and feed little over the course of incubation. These results suggest that the physical condition of nesting female geese plays an important role in determining nesting success.