Does snowmelt constrain spring migration progression in sympatric wintering Arctic nesting geese Results from a Far East Asia telemetry study


Telemetry data from sympatric Eastern Tundra Bean Geese Anser serrirostris captured on their winter quarters in the Yangtze River Floodplain, China, tracked to two discrete breeding areas (the Anadyr Region (AR) at 65°N and Central Russian Arctic (CRA) at 75°N) showed that, despite longer migration distance (6300 vs. 5300 km), AR geese reached their destination 23 days earlier than CRA geese as a result of increasingly delayed date of 50% snow cover along the route of CRA geese (based on satellite imagery data). Both groups arrived at breeding areas 8–9 days prior to the local date of 50% snow cover thaw, suggesting optimal timing of arrival for subsequent reproduction. Despite small sample sizes from one season of tracking, these intra-specific data are the first to suggest that, in time-limited Arctic-nesting geese, snowmelt conditions regulated the individual progress and duration of spring migration along the flyway to coincide with arrival at optimal spring conditions on breeding areas.


Anser serrirostris, Eastern Tundra Bean Goose, snow melt, spring migration

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