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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just wondering how common it is to see aleutian geese in ND. I don't remember ever seeing one killed for sure, but I believe I killed one.

How many people have killed them or seen them in ND? Just curious.

Here is the pic for reference, to me it looks like a carbon copy of the pictures I've seen on the net.

Thanks.

 

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Yes, that is an Aleutian...You should've had it mounted...They are not very common. I will be posting a pic of an Aleutian I did for Mac who's on this site very soon! They are AWESOME little geese!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
lol......now why would you say that??

Actually his one wing was pretty beat up and I'm not in the market for a bird mount right now, but it was kind of cool. I never even noticed it until my buddy picked him up after we were done hunting. Makes me wish I had kept shooting at the other 3........I shot this one and quit shooting.

Thanks for verifying that it is an aleutian.
 

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I have been doing some reading on the sub species of the canada goose and i do not believe that it is an aleut. Aleuts are typically a darker brown to almost a red rust in coloration. The white ringlet around the neck is convincing but also common in the taverner's sub species as well.

Some Aleuts have been shot in Nodak, don't get me wrong BUT i don't think that bird is one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
for what it is worth, it was a dark bird, the flash from the camera is to blame I believe for the brightness of the chest. If you look close, the lower chest/belly and the far upper chest are kind of a ruddy color almost.

Another trait I found listed online is that some Aleutians have a faint black strip under their chin separating their left and right cheek patches, and if you look closely you can maybe see this strip in the picture. I did look at the bird to check and it did have a faint black stripe under the chin.

I really don't care if it is one or not, but all the characteristics I could find matched this bird.

If anyone has more input I'd be happy to hear it.
 

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I don't think an Aleutian has ever been shot in North Dakota. I wouldn't say never, but I doubt it. The closest an Aleutian Canada goose has ever come to North Dakota was the breeding pens at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. The last of the species were at Amchitka, and they winter in California. I think they are yet unsure if the high forehead is indicative of a functioning salt gland. I would guess that is settled now, but when I was raising them that was one of the big questions. If the salt gland was functional they could cross from the Islands of Amchitka and Adak to California without following the coast. If I am not mistaken they are still on the rare and endangered list.

The fox introduced by Russia for the fur trade wiped this subspecies out on nearly all the Islands. Amchitka didn't have a coast allowing a good landing and for some reason that Island was passed over. There were buildings left from our WWII outpost that our people stayed in when they reintroduced them. I was supposed to go up there, but I was having some health problems and didn't dare go. The ship the Arctic Tern only came once a month and we were supposed to stay for three months. I always regret not seeing it. My boss said you could catch three pound Dolly Varden trout in the pond behind the barracks with every cast.

Aleutian Canada Goose
(Branta canadensis leucopareia)
Photo courtesy of USFWSStatus
Alaska species of special concern

Description
The Aleutian Canada goose is one of five subspecies of the familiar white-cheeked Canada geese that inhabit Alaska. It is distinguished by its smaller size, abrupt forehead with short bill, and usually by a pronounced ring of white feathers around the base of the neck.

Habitats and Habits
The Aleutian Canada Goose is thought to have historically nested on maritime islands from the Alaska Peninsula, westward along the Aleutian Chain, to the Commander and Kuril islands of Asia. The geese nest on treeless islands in areas densely vegetated by grasses, sedges, and ferns, often where there is no source of fresh water.
 

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With that being said, it is possible an Aleutian could stray into North Dakota. I've seen weirder things with waterfowl. I'm not familiar with Lil's sub species, but the Aleutian pic's I've seen are darker brown with the white ring around the neck.
I will post Mac's pic soon and as far as birds at the ID station...Half of them can't tell the difference between a Redhead or a Canvasback. But, I guess Lil' could be right...
 

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Plainsman how can you say one has never come close? Didn't Dblkluk shoot a Brant a year or two ago?
 

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This was taken from an article on line. If they fly into California and Oregon, they could reach North Dakota. Heck King Eiders have been observed in Kansas before...

Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

Subfamily: Anserinae

Genus & Species: Branta canadensis leucopareia

APPEARANCE

The Aleutian Canada goose is one of the smallest of the Canada goose subspecies. They are easily recognizable with their grey breast and black neck, back, and front of the head. There is a white ring around the base of the neck and two white cheek patches on the face that do not meet under the throat. Both the males and females have the same markings. The bill is short and the forehead is abrupt.

The Aleutian Canada goose goes by many names, including the Hutchin's goose, white-cheeked goose, lesser Canada goose, Asiatic Canada goose, tundra goose, land goose, and titmouse goose, as well as by several Inuit names, including legch, luch, lug-ach, lagix, and shijukara gan.

HABITAT

The Aleutian Canada goose lives on the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska. They are also found on the Commander and Kuril Islands of Japan. They used to winter from B.C. to Mexico but today winter only in Oregon, Washington, and California. Some of these geese are sometimes spotted in Canada, although they do not live there. They nest on eight islands, including Buldir Island, Chagulak Island and Agattu Island. They migrate between August and December, with the greatest number leaving in September. In the winter many of them can be found near Crescent City and Sacramento Valley.
 

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My guess is Aleutian. If you look right under the white ring it looks reddish. Either way I am F-ing jealous! I want one that small to put next to my big boy!
Didn't Dblkluk shoot a Brant a year or two ago?
I am pretty sure it was Lyle (Bigblackfoot)that shot it! He put the full load into it as well and it couldn't be mounted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is the picture from online. The one on the right is called out as an aleutian goose. The neck band on my bird did look just like this one, thick in the front and tapering to hardly anything in the back.

 

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Flick said:
Plainsman how can you say one has never come close? Didn't Dblkluk shoot a Brant a year or two ago?
Well, for one thing the Aleutians don't come far inland. They are evidently just of the rare and endangered list and now I think they call it species of concern. Considering their habitat, range, and low numbers I would guess it would guess the chances are multi-million to one of it being an Aleutian. Right up in there with a Polar Bear (habitat, range, low numbers) getting shot in the Red River Valley. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Maverick said:
My guess is Aleutian. If you look right under the white ring it looks reddish. Either way I am F-ing jealous! I want one that small to put next to my big boy!
Didn't Dblkluk shoot a Brant a year or two ago?
I am pretty sure it was Lyle (Bigblackfoot)that shot it! He put the full load into it as well and it couldn't be mounted.
I can tell you where he is if you want to go sew his chest shut and mount him.....he might be a tad ripe after today though....lol.
 

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Do the cheek patches meet under the throat?
The high forehead is what makes them think there may be a functioning salt gland. They are not seen often in migration between the Aleutian islands and California and some people wonder if it is a straight line migration and they are not coming inland at all.

With only a few thousand birds and most migration at sea from islands only 15 miles from Russian territory to California what do you think the chances are of one being in North Dakota?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I guess it really doesn't matter too much to me what this goose was, it was something odd either way. I see nothing to debunk the theory that it was an aleutian, but I'm not mounting it anyway and its probably mostly getting dumped out by a coyote this afternoon.

However, to imply that the species is in danger and "just off the list" is erroneous in my opinion. See the title of the attached article.

[color=blue]FROM TOO FEW TO TOO MANY[/color]
Aleutian goose's rebound a problem for agriculture
Glen Martin, Chronicle Environment Writer

Sunday, March 11, 2007

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(03-11) 04:00 PDT Humboldt County -- It was a cool, clear dawn, and the sky was full of Aleutian geese, a bird long known as one of America's most endangered species. Mitch Farro and Dave Steiner, supine in camouflaged blinds near a pond surrounded with goose decoys, hoped to kill a few.

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A flock of yelping geese wheeled over the decoys. Farro put a goose call to his lips, returned their cries, and the birds dipped lower. As they cupped their wings and prepared to settle on the pond, Steiner fired, knocking down two of them.

"That's a pretty bird," said Steiner, as he took one of the geese from his Labrador retriever, Maude. He pinched the goose's sternum. "Very fat. Been eating lots of grass."

A few years ago, Steiner and Farro would have faced heavy fines -- perhaps some jail time -- for shooting Aleutians, one of the smaller members of the Canada goose complex, which contains two species and at least six subspecies. In the 1970s, the Aleutian goose population was below 1,000. The bird was declared endangered in 1967, under a special designation that predated the 1971 U.S. Endangered Species Act.

But a long-term program to revive the Aleutian goose proved so successful that it was removed from the endangered species list in 2001. Their numbers have exploded, now exceeding 100,000, and during the past decade the population has been growing as much as 20 percent a year.

The geese, who spend fall and early winter in the San Joaquin Valley before heading to California's North Coast in late winter and early spring, have become so numerous that they are causing widespread agricultural damage, stripping Humboldt and Del Norte counties' pastures of the grass farmers need for their cattle.

While state and federal agencies have allowed hunters to take the birds during the fall waterfowl season since Aleutian geese were removed from the endangered list, this month's hunt in the two counties was the first of its kind: a special late-winter season intended to force the birds off farms to nearby refuges and public lands.

Farro, a project manager with the Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association, said the geese nest on the Aleutian Islands, spend most of the winter in California's Central Valley and migrate en masse to the North Coast, where they fatten on grass until mid-April and return to their Alaskan breeding grounds.

"When we only had a few hundred geese (on the North Coast), it wasn't a problem," said Farro, who helped arrange the negotiations between government regulators and land owners that led to the special hunt. "But as their numbers kept climbing, it became obvious they were having a significant impact on local farms."

Aleutians are consuming forage valued at $240,000 to $400,000 each year in Humboldt County, Farro said. Fred and Sandy Hanks, ranchers who raise about 200 cattle on 500 acres near Arcata (Humboldt County), said the geese cost them about $14,000 in lost forage and hay last year.

"They like pastures that already have been grazed (by cattle), because the new shoots that come up in early spring are sweet and have the highest protein content," said Sandy. "So they key in on private pastures, not the ungrazed public lands."

Fred Hanks said he and his wife don't mind supporting some geese on their land, "but when things get to this point, something has to be done. We can't take those kinds of losses, year in and year out."

The Hanks worry that the situation will only get worse if goose numbers expand, as many biologists expect.

"So there's 100,000 now," said Fred. "What happens to agriculture around here when there's 500,000? A million?"

Aleutian geese were once widespread along the Pacific Flyway, but their numbers began declining in the early 20th century as escaped foxes from Aleutian Island fur farms began harrying them on their nesting grounds. After the species was declared endangered, biologists began the arduous process of wiping out the foxes on four islands.

Meanwhile, rigorous restrictions were enforced along the bird's migratory stops, ensuring that none would be shot during the waterfowl hunting season.

Farro said federal and state wildlife officials may have to change management plans for some refuge lands to accommodate the geese. Private landowners and government regulators have been working on plans that could turn Humboldt County pastures that were reclaimed from estuarine marshes back into wetlands, he said.

But Aleutian geese don't like salt marshes -- and unless refuge managers allow more public land to be used as pastures for the geese, Farro said, there will be little incentive for private participation in wetland habitat restoration.

"It's going to be a matter of balance," he said. "There are some projects that will be critical, such as restoration of streamside wetland complexes that support endangered or threatened fish. For other properties that don't have such high potential, it may make more sense to keep it in actively grazed pasture."

Jimmy Smith, a Humboldt County supervisor and waterfowl hunter, said the special hunt seems to have succeeded in its primary goal: Pushing the geese to public lands.

"But these kinds of hunts won't have any affect on their basic numbers," he said. "Geese are smart. You shoot once, and they go someplace where no one is hunting them. We'll maybe kill a few hundred geese during this limited hunt. That will do absolutely nothing in terms of reducing the population."

Eric Nelson, director of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, said continued growth of the Aleutian goose population seems likely.

"There's not much they face in the way of biological bottlenecks," Nelson said. "They have plenty of nesting habitat in the Aleutians they haven't begun to exploit. There's lots of midwinter habitat for them in the Central Valley, and the same goes for the late winter and early spring habitat they need here on the North Coast."

Most biologists think 60,000 is the optimum size for the Aleutian goose population -- big enough to ensure the survivability of the species and small enough to minimize later winter damage to cattle pastures. While some wildlife experts fear the rapid growth of Aleutians will continue, other scientists think the geese can be controlled by adjusting fall hunting seasons and bag limits.

"With goose management, it can be a Goldilocks situation," said Dan Yparraguirre, a California Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist and an authority on Aleutian geese. "Either too hot or too cold -- or rather, too few or too many. But by carefully monitoring the populations and adjusting hunting regulations year by ayear, we can achieve general goals."

E-mail Glen Martin at [email protected].
 

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FLOYD look in your own article.

a bird long known as one of America's most endangered species.
Like I said I think it has been reduced to species of concern (in Alaska anyway). You perhaps can't convince a California farmer that they were once endangered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Plainsman said:
Do the cheek patches meet under the throat?
The high forehead is what makes them think there may be a functioning salt gland. They are not seen often in migration between the Aleutian islands and California and some people wonder if it is a straight line migration and they are not coming inland at all.

With only a few thousand birds and most migration at sea from islands only 15 miles from Russian territory to California what do you think the chances are of one being in North Dakota?
As I said earlier, there is a faint black strip separating the cheek patches. It is by no means solid black, but there is a black stripe there in some form. My guess was that it is probably a young bird since the stripe was not solid, then again I don't know if its supposed to be solid in the first place. If you look close at the photo I posted, you can somewhat see the dark strip on the chin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Plainsman said:
FLOYD look in your own article.

a bird long known as one of America's most endangered species.
Like I said I think it has been reduced to species of concern.
I have personally witnessed birds banded in New England be killed in ND as well as birds from the west coast.

I just think its cool that every once in a while something really weird happens when your out hunting......
 
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