More than one way for catching

To mark wild geese individually we`re using three different methods of catching. Which of them might be the best, depends on the local and financial facilities. Further there are could be different questions: if you want to know more about a special staging site, you should catch the birds there. If you want to know more about the population or flyway migration you might better ringing birds on the breeding grounds.

In this project we combined catching in the wintering areas with birds ringed in the high arctic.

Ganzenflapper - an old Frisian tradition

Goose catchers get young Whitefronts out of the net

In Dutch province Friesland there is an tradition to catch geese still exist which is more than 500 years old.

Wild geese were attract by decoys and caught with clapping nets on their way from the roost to the feeding sites. The goose catchers are hidden in a small hide in more than 300m distance. Flying geese were attract by the decoys feeding close to the net. At the moment the wildgeese circling above the decoys the goose catchers let more decoys flying which were stored in the hide. This decoys fly straight to their grazing mates or youngs next to the catching area. This leads the wild birds to land, too.

This catching method is still allowed for scientific use in The Netherlands.

The method of Ganzenflappers is very successfull, but affords enormous time for catching each day between October and February as well as to keep and train the birds all over the year.


See Goose catchers working

  • File link icon for GANSFLAP_02.MPGGANSFLAP.MPGFor see goose catchers clapping net working, klick here (quicktime)713 K
Roosting Brent Geese were caught at Terschelling (photo: G. Müskens)


Goose catching can be much more flexible by using cannon-nets. By this a large fishery-net will shot over the grazing geese by rocket driven with gunpowder. Net and cannons have to be hidden very well in the field before.

For using this you need a place were the birds regulary grazing, roosting or sleeping.

Moulting geese were caught at Taimyr 2005 (photo: Alterra)

Catching moulting geese on the breeding grounds

During moulting time geese, swans and ducks are flightless for four weeks. So they are threatened by predators. During this period they are extremly shy gather in special areas were they feel safe (moulting sites). They often use large lakes and big rivers. By using nets the geese could be caught easily by stearing with people and boats into a corral near the shore.

This method was used by native people of Sibiria traditionally. In this project birds were caught in this way in the beginning 1990ths and in 2005 and 2006. Also geese were caught on Kolguev in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Using large trap-nets was also successfully used in banding moulting Greylag Geese in Germany and The Netherlands.