Last field season for the Magpie Geese on Mango Orchards Project

The last field season is about to kick off for the Charles Darwin University Magpie Goose Research Team. The researchers are studying Magpie Goose biology and ecology and investigating novel management techniques to inform future management programs.

  PhD student Amélie Corriveau collection Magpie Goose carcasses from recreational hunters during 2016 field season (Photo credit: Bart Irwin)

PhD student Amélie Corriveau collection Magpie Goose carcasses from recreational hunters during 2016 field season (Photo credit: Bart Irwin)

PhD candidate Amélie Corriveau is studying Magpie Goose movements and food resources to address the ongoing issues with these birds on mango orchards in Northern Australia. “During the last two mango seasons, we captured over 250 Magpie Geese and GPS-tagged 89 of them. Some individuals are still sending GPS locations after more than 250 days tracking!” Amélie said.

While still crunching her movement data analyses, Amélie is preparing for the last field season of her research. “This year, I will collaborate with recreational hunters to collect Magpie Goose carcasses throughout the Greater Darwin Region, from which I will extract contents of different parts of their digestive system. DNA analyses will allow me to identify what food resources Magpie Geese consume during the mango season, and what is the importance of mangoes in their diet”.

This season, the research team will also use wildlife cameras to compare Magpie Goose density on mango orchards with, and without scaring. Field trials for novel management strategies such as use of drones and chemical repellents will also be undertaken during mango season.

The research team is working towards providing field-based knowledge that can lead to developing practical solutions on farms and broader scale management approaches for Northern Australia. Research outcomes will inform growers on when, where, and for how long management actions should occur, what other resources around mango orchards may be attracting Magpie Geese and what mitigation methods may be more effective than others.

This project is conducted in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government, the NT Farmers Association, and the Australian Mango Industry Association.

For more information on this research please email amelie.corriveau@cdu.edu.au 

Article submitted by Charles Darwin University.

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