The AGJV supports banding operations across the Arctic, from Baffin Island to Alaska. From 1989–2015, more than 1 million geese from AGJV populations were banded. AGJV banding studies have provided information about timing of migration, recovery distributions, survival rates, population sizes, and harvest rates.

Improved knowledge of goose distribution during migration and winter has led to amalgamation of several populations of geese from breeding areas that were formerly divided into smaller regional components, including midcontinent White-fronted Geese, midcontinent Cackling Geese, and midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese. Banding data have also been used to monitor changes in distribution of species like Ross’s Geese, which have greatly expanded their range eastward over the past few decades.

Scientists rely on the interest and engagement of tens of thousands of United States and Canadian citizens to collect goose-related information. A key example of this citizen science is the large volume of information provided by hunters through harvest questionnaire surveys, species composition surveys and band recoveries. Hunters “sample” the population of marked birds by reporting their band recoveries and seasonal harvests of geese, and by submitting parts (i.e., tail fans and wing tips of harvested geese) for determining the species/age/sex composition of the annual harvest.

White-fronted Geese on Alaskas north slope

Banding Baffin Island

Each year, at least 80,000 hunters respond to harvest questionnaire surveys in the United States, and another 12,000 or so in Canada. In addition, hunters report approximately 60,000 hunter-shot band recoveries each year.

The information collected from this massive citizen “workforce” is used to estimate abundance, determine survival rates and monitor the size and distribution of harvest for most populations of arctic geese in North America. Given the large numbers, remote breeding areas, and large and expanding geographic distributions of these populations, traditional monitoring techniques, such as aerial surveys, are either logistically impractical or prohibitively expensive. Thus, the information collected from the hunting community is critical to monitoring efforts aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of these species.

The Arctic Goose Joint Venture expresses sincere gratitude to all partner agencies, scientists and the thousands of hunters who contribute to the knowledge base needed to manage North American geese.

Reporting Banded Birds

Did you find a banded bird? Find out how to report it!

Banding and Recovery by Species

Canada and Cackling Geese

Western Arctic Lesser Snow Geese

Ross's Geese

Midcontinent Cackling Geese

Canada Geese

Brant Geese

Cackling Geese

Snow Geese

Ross's Geese

Greater White-fronted Geese

Emperor Geese