Swedish bean geese migrate to Scotland, new research

This video from the Netherlands is called Taiga Bean Goose – Anser fabalis fabalis.

From Wildlife Extra:

Bean geese migration mystery solved

Bean geese go on tour of Scandinavia every summer

May 2013. The mystery breeding location for Scotland’s only bean goose flock has finally been solved, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has announced. Through GPS tracking, the migration route of one of Scotland’s rarest goose populations has been found to cross Scandinavia with their breeding grounds being in Sweden.

GPS tracking

Six taiga bean geese were fitted with tracking devices by scientists from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), commissioned by SNH.The six geese were caught and ringed by experts at their winter quarters on the Slamannan plateau to help understand the threats facing one of Scotland’s smallest flocks of geese.

Huge decline in Scottish population

Bean geese were once common in Scotland, but over the past 100 years or so they have become extremely rare. The Slamannan plateau, outside the village of Slamannan near Falkirk, is home to Scotland’s only wintering population of these birds. The flock, usually about 250 birds, is one of only two which visit the UK in the winter. The second, in Norfolk, is much smaller.

Boost for Scottish Bean geese

Scotland’s only population of a rare arctic goose will be better protected in future thanks to the purchase of a site in North Lanarkshire by Forestry Commission Scotland.

Sweden via Denmark & Norway

In this innovative project, the six geese were fitted with small 19g Global Positioning System (GPS) tags which revealed the location of individual geese each day. The scientists then built up a detailed picture of their winter feeding areas. In late February, the geese left Scotland and spent a month feeding on old stubble fields in Jylland, northwest Denmark preparing for the next leg of their migration. In late March, the flock then travelled to fields 40km north east of Oslo, Norway to feed for two weeks, before moving a further 200km north, in mid-April, to their summering grounds in the forested Dalarna county of west Sweden. Here they have settled in what is thought to be their breeding grounds.

Two local schools, Slamannan and Greengairs primary schools, have followed the twists and turns of the birds’ migration from tagging through to the complete GPS tracking programme, and are hoping to round this off with a trip for six or so of their students to Sweden in 2014. The children have been involved in bean goose project work for several years, and have learned about netting geese for tagging, GPS tracking, and international bird populations, as well as having made artwork, puppets and a short film about the geese. …

The Slamannan plateau

The Slamannan plateau lies between Falkirk and Cumbernauld. Bean geese were first seen in the area during the 1980s, and their numbers and distribution have been monitored annually since the early 1990s. Since then the population has grown to approximately 250 birds. The bean geese arrive in the area in late September each year and leave in late February.

The study is a collaborative project which also includes RSPB Scotland and informs the work of SNH and the Bean Goose Action Group

More and more geese remain in Denmark for the winter. They forage in the growing number of maize fields all over the country: here.


5 thoughts on “Swedish bean geese migrate to Scotland, new research

  1. Pingback: How young white-fronted geese learn to migrate, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  4. Pingback: Rare taiga bean goose with transmitter in the Netherlands | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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