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BIRDING IN USHUAIA

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

UPLAND GOOSE IN WINTER TIME, BIRDING IN USHUAIA


This species has an ingrained behavior of migrating during late autumn to early spring, due to the natural conditions prevailing in their habitat, motivated by the scarcity of food resources. However, in the context of the city of Ushuaia, the changes caused by human activity have generated a notable alteration in this migratory pattern.


Upland Goose in Winter
Birding in Ushuaia

The gradual increase in temperatures around Ushuaia has generated the appearance of snowless grasslands during the winter. This change has exerted a considerable influence on a group of Upland geese, prompting them to adapt and stay in the urban environment during the colder season instead of migrating to their traditional wintering areas in northern Patagonia, Buenos Aires Province, and other destinations.


Birding in Ushuaia
Upland Goose

Although I do not have an exact census of the number of geese that choose to stay in Ushuaia during the winter, it is notorious that, in a single week, in a single pasture on the outskirts of the city, I was able to count more than 40 individuals divided into two groups. This modification of their behavior raises a number of intriguing questions.



Birding in Ushuaia
Upland Goose

First of all, the question arises as to whether the continuation of winters with similar or even higher temperatures will lead to the availability of sufficient grasslands for food for these individuals and their descendants. It is also relevant to question whether this behavioral adaptation will confer significant advantages compared to migration. In addition, uncertainty arises as to whether the nutrition of these birds will remain constant despite the disadvantages in terms of energy expenditure that migration entails, as opposed to the feeding opportunities offered by the decision not to migrate.


Birding in Ushuaia
Upland Goose

These questions, without definitive answers, are fascinating starting points for learning to coexist harmoniously with native birds. Moreover, given that migration has historically been one of the most pressing challenges to the conservation of bird populations, these new observations raise valuable insights for conservation and coexistence with wildlife in an ever-changing world.

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