E-news Issue 7
Wednesday, 08 September 2021
Charles Darwin University
E-news
CDU PhD student Amélie Corriveau is researching ways to help reduce the damage made by magpie geese on Northern Territory farms.
CDU PhD student Amélie Corriveau is researching ways to help reduce the damage made by magpie geese on Northern Territory farms.

Research finds ways to improve magpie goose management on NT mango farms

Research from Charles Darwin University (CDU) has identified ways to improve management of magpie geese to better assist mango growers as the Northern Territory goes into mango season.

PhD student and environmental science researcher Amélie Corriveau has recently completed her research in studying the movements and diet of the magpie goose, a large and iconic bird most abundant in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

Although protected wildlife and a totemic animal for Indigenous people, magpie geese can be a headache to local farmers as they feed on crops and cause financial losses.

Ms Corriveau investigated the seasonal movements and food resources of magpie geese in the Northern Territory to help farmers identify appropriate approaches to deal with these birds.

“My research aimed to understand where geese coming on farms were from, whether the same birds came back to the region every year, and how they used the resources available in the agricultural landscape”, Ms Corriveau said.

“The findings showed that the birds were opportunistic and adaptable, but also that they used prior knowledge – the same geese did tend to come back every year. That means that geese are going to be an ongoing challenge from growers, as they can easily locate attractive resources and go back to them.”

This means farmers could reduce the attractiveness of their farms for geese by using underground irrigation systems or night-time irrigation schedules, minimising available water on farms or removing fruit falls.

Setting up alternative areas to divert the birds away from farms could also help reduce damage by keeping birds chased from farms away for longer.

“This is a very complex issue and there is no magical solution. Systemic damage assessments are needed to quantify the actual damage made by geese” Ms Corriveau said.

“Management needs to be adaptable to how the species behave from one season to another. Farmers could also pool resources and coordinate among neighbours to maximise the effectiveness of management actions on farms.”