Look out for Pink-footed Geese with transmitter neckbands!


Mon, 17/09/2018 (All day)

In 2018, in Svalbard and Finland, Pink-footed Geese were equipped with GPS-GSM neckband transmitters to track them year-round and to learn more about the breeding and migration of these geese. If you see a tagged goose in the field, we would like to know if it has a partner and young. You can report this directly to k.schreven@nioo.knaw.nl or via www.geese.org.

In the past summer, an expedition by Danish, Dutch and Norwegian scientists went to Svalbard to catch Pink-footed geese on their breeding grounds. 34 Geese were equipped with a neckband transmitter that registers their movements all year-round. These transmitters are white, with two solar panels on the sides, and with a black code of two characters (letters or numbers). They weigh only 38 gram and a test before and after tagging showed that the geese get used to them very quickly and behave normally.

The main aim of this research is to learn how geese use arctic habitats after the snow has melted there. Early snowmelt is usually good, because geese can start breeding quickly after arrival and can use high-quality vegetation with their chicks. However, with climate warming in the arctic, the snow melts even earlier and geese may arrive too late to enjoy these benefits. On the other hand, geese can also use specific areas that become snow-free later in the season, and nowadays more areas become snow-free and available for the geese.

In the spring of 2018, a Danish-Finnish-Dutch expedition had already tagged 10 geese in Finland, on their new migration route, with the aim to see where these birds breed and how they migrate there.

If you see one of our geese with a neckband transmitter in the field, we would like to know if it has a partner and young. Young Pink-footed Geese stay together with their parents until late winter or even the following spring. You can note the presence of young because the family usually walks closely together, even though they are part of a bigger flock. You can report your sightings to k.schreven@nioo.knaw.nl or on www.geese.org.

Kees Schreven and Jesper Madsen 

The catching team in Finland with Pink-footed Geese and Barnacle Geese, just before releasing them (photo Esko Pasanen)

Close-up of a Pink-footed Goose with GPS-neckband on Svalbard (photo Kees Schreven)