Missouri Master Naturalists- Kansas City

Osage Trails Trails Chapter (KC Metro Region)

Head ‘Em Up, Move ‘Em Out—Goose Roundup!

By Ed Beijen, 2017 MMN

Canada geese lose their flight feathers for about a month starting in June and that is an ideal time to round them up to record their bands and geese that do not have bands are banded.  Banding allows biologists to learn about their distribution, calculate survival rates,  harvesting and production of young.   When MDC announced a goose round up for 6/13 at Smithville Lake, Gail Goeke and Ed Beijen volunteered to assist 35-40  MDC personnel for the round up.  The actual roundup is done by MDC staff operating John boats in a finely orchestrated fashion by quietly moving in position to encircle a flock of geese.  That circle becomes smaller and smaller leading into a funnel shaped pattern that forces the flock to go on land where others had set up temporary holding pens.

MDC personnel demonstrated best practices for restraining and carrying a goose for those who were not banding or recording.  Ed had some experience with this process, but this was a new experience for Gail. It did not take long to learn what was necessary to carry and hold a struggling goose.  Previously banded geese were recorded on logs, then released to return to the lake.  Geese without bands were banded, then released.

Once the geese were penned, several workers inside the pens separated goslings from the adults.  The youngest goslings can be identified by their “fuzz.”  Some goslings had feathers but could be identified as juveniles by size, and the sound of their honks. The workers inside the pens handed each gosling to waiting workers who took them to be banded and released.

With plenty of workers, the process went quickly.  Once all of the geese had been recorded or banded, the pens and equipment were dismantled, loaded onto trucks, boats deployed, and the process repeated in another location on the lake shore.

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