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Travelling with the spring

White-fronted geese nest on the Arctic tundra of Russia. The nesting areas begin on the western Kanin peninsula and stretch to the eastern part of the Taimyr. They nest as solitary pairs throughout the swamps and bogs of the tundra. To read more about the breeding biology of this species, go here.

To avoid the cold and hard Arctic winter, when snow covers all the grassy food on the tundra, the geese migrate south, in this case to the south and southwest. The wintering grounds of White-fronts are located from the big lakes of Kazakhstan, eastward along the Black Sea to Greece and Turkey, Hungary and Austria, and as far north as Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. To read more about the wintering ecology of this species, click here.

During winter, the geese mainly use agricultural fields for feeding. Often this causes conflicts with farmers. Read more about agricultural conflicts.

During migration, the geese use a variety of complex migration routes. From Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium, most of the birds migrate through the Baltic countries and Karelia. However, some of them migrate eastwards via Belarussia and Russia before heading north. Birds wintering in southeastern Europe migrate northward along the Ural Mountains and the Ob’ River. Read more about the migration routes of this species.

Throughout the entire year, the geese have to worry about their enemies. While geese have to be on guard against the Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus), Snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca), and gulls (Larus spp.) on the breeding areas, they must watch out for predators like the Golden (Aquila chrysaetos) and White-tailed (Haliaeetus albicilla) Eagles, Red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) during migration and in winter. Read more about the influence of predation on geese populations.

Furthermore, native people on the breeding grounds and sports hunters throughout the flyways hunt the geese. As soon as the geese begin migrating from their breeding grounds, hunting season begins. Wherever the geese appear, hunters become active and the hunting season is opened. In the European Union, hunting is allowed until spring migration starts, but in Russia and Belarus spring hunting is popular and permitted. Read more about the influence of hunting on this species.