Spring stopover routines in Russian Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis tracked by resightings and geolocation

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) Science Article 10


By attaching 9-g loggers (recording dusk and dawn times to a memory chip) to the coded leg rings of Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis caught in a breeding colony at Tobseda (68 deg 35’N, 52 deg 20’E) on the arctic coast of the Russian Federation in 2003 and by their recapture and retrieval in the 2004 season, we reconstructed the year-round movements of 19 females. We analysed spring migration movements of logged birds until they entered the zone of continuous daylight (c. 20 May), supplemented by ring reading in the colony. The technique also enabled description of incubation rhythm in these arctic breeders, allowing inferences about attempt and timing of breeding without the necessity of direct observation. Although the birds did not necessarily travel together, most travelled on 14-15 (9 individuals) and 17-18 May (10 birds) when favourable conditions for long-distance flights prevailed. The majority of birds remained in the Wadden Sea well into May, and only 6 staged more than a week anywhere in the Baltic (median staging period 4 days).

Eichhorn G., Afanasyev V., Drent R.H. & van der Jeugd H.P, ARDEA 94 (3): 667-678

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