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Arctic Goose Joint Venture

Artic Geese
Copyright Mary Gustafson

Snow, Ross', White-fronted, and Canada Geese (small forms) are collared by researchers cooperating in the Arctic Goose Joint Venture. The Arctic Goose Joint Venture is part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and involves researchers collaring geese in Canada, the United States, and Wrangel Island Russia.

Collars used in the Arctic Goose Joint Venture are 3-digit collars in a "broken" pattern. This means that the codes are not all in a row with the same alignment. The character that should be recorded first is the vertical character. The two horizontal characters are read last. It is important to sketch the collar or write it as "Vertical T Horizontal N5" or "T-N5" for the pictured Ross' Goose. This helps the researchers by indicating that you are starting with the correct character. With the Arctic Goose Joint Venture collars an expanded character set is often used with letters not used in other collaring projects. The characters may be stylized allowing the collars to be read when only half of the character can be seen. The most common character to cause confusion is the 9, which has the circle at the top transformed into a triangle.

Ross's Goose with collar T-N5

Copyright Kelly Otis Hazen


Species and colors in the joint venture:

White-fronted Goose

Small forms of the Canada Goose and the Cackling Goose (formerly a subspecies of Canada Goose)

Lesser Snow Goose (includes Blue Goose)

Ross' Goose

Look for these birds in the Pacific and Central Flyways. They are occasionally seen in the Mississippi Flyway, and not normally seen in the Atlantic Flyway. Watch for stylized characters. Sketch the characters and their location on the collar. Report the collars as A-12 or 1-2A etc with the large single character listed first and the sideways characters listed after a dash. This helps prevent confusion!

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