Below are some facts about SJBP geese taken from the SJBP Goose Management Plan. This plan was written and approved by the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway Councils.
1) SJBP geese are the smallest and most southerly breeding population within the Branta canadensis interior subspecies
2) SJBP geese migrate through, and winter in both the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways
3) A portion of this population reaches a deep south terminus when they travel to their wintering grounds (these numbers are declining)
According to the management plan, there has been a decline in wintering SJBP geese in North Carolina and South Carolina since the 1960's. Declines in wintering birds are linked to changes in migration timing and destination. Some factors influencing this are mild winters, changes in farming and land use practices, and increases in temperate-nesting or resident goose populations. The management plan states that declines may be linked to mild winters, the availability of cereal grains, the intensity of waterfowl management in northern states, and the mixing of resident and migrant birds on wintering and breeding grounds as well as migratory stop-over sites. To read more about this, please clink the link to the left titled "Why are Wintering Goose Numbers Declining".
History of the SJBP Geese at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge
Lake Marion was established in 1938, and Santee National Wildlife Refuge soon followed in 1941. Beginning in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s SJBP Canada geese began to winter on the refuge. The number of winter geese peaked at 39,000-40,000 birds by the mid 1960’s. However, in the years that followed, up to 1987, there was a 96% decrease in the numbers of wintering Canada geese on the refuge. At this time, their numbers declined to about 1,500 wild geese. Since 1990 there has been an average of about 1,000-1,200 SJBP geese wintering in and around the Santee National Wildlife Refuge each year.