From: Michael Reilly, Discovery News
Published September 18, 2009 11:05 AM

Arctic Geese Skip Migration

In the Fall of 2007, tens of thousands of small arctic geese called Pacific brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) decided not to go south for the winter.

For these long-haul migratory birds, it was a dramatic choice -- they usually spend the cold months munching their favorite eel grass in the waters off Mexico's Baja peninsula. But changes in Earth's climate have so affected them that the barren windswept lagoons of western Alaska are looking more and more appealing.


The trend is likely to continue, according to a new study, affecting not only brant but a host of migratory birds around the globe.

David Ward of the United States Geological Survey in Anchorage has been studying brant behavior for nearly three decades.

When he began back in the 1970s, only around 4000 birds toughed out the winter in Izembek Lagoon, a 25-mile long stretch of protected water on the Alaska Peninsula. Two autumns ago, the number had climbed to 40,000 -- nearly 30 percent of the total population.

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