Bruce Dugger, Erin Harrington
Latin name: Branta hutchinsii
Bruce Dugger's MS student Erin Harrington is investigating the most likely mechanisms driving Cackling goose use of urban areas in Oregon.
The goal of my project is to determine why Cackling geese are now using urban areas in the Willamette Valley region. I hypothesize that although dispersal to urban areas may be more energetically costly than movement in traditional areas, Cackling geese are moving into urban ecosystems due to increased foraging opportunities that maximize energy gain per unit of effort. I will test predictions derived from this hypothesis by quantifying time activity budgets of Cackling geese in urban and rural areas, and by analyzing collar observation data from previous studies. If we can identify the most likely explanations driving goose use of urban areas in Oregon, we will have the opportunity to decide how to manage geese to either encourage or discourage behavior as necessary, and/or prevent these kinds of redistributions in the future.