2015/16: Lower Saxony started new goose research project

Gretare Whitefronts wear white collars with GPS tag

To estimate the influence of hunting on spatial distribution and goose damage the German county of Lower Saxony started a new research project in autum 2015. Task of the research is to mark and tag geese our of three species: Greylags, Greater Whitefronts and Barnacle Geese. For all of them we use high-resolution GPS-GPRS-transmitters to study local movements and behaviour. We kindly ask all observers to report this birds via and have a look to social status. While we tag staging Greater Whitefronts and Barnacles we`ll catch local breeding Greylags to find out more about their migration and local movements. Again you can follow the routes of the birds on our website. For interpretation please realize that we have to summarize the masses of positions for presentation. To protect the geese we`ll shut down the presentation during spring migration and summer season. The project is financed by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture.

Link to website of tagged geese 2015/16

Greater Whitefronted Geese
Greylag Geese
Barnacle Geese

2015: New neckband smartphones for white-fronted geese

After several months of development, a new, improved neckband tag is ready to study the behaviour and movement of geese. On 15 February 2015 the first three white-fronted geese have been equipped with these tags in Friesland. The tags are able to record GPS positions and accelerometer measurements and send those to the scientists of this project via the GPRS network (mobile internet). Thus, they are small goose smartphones. The white neckbands are optimally balanced. They have two solar panels at opposite sides, an easy to read, (for now) two digit black number to read and can be reported via With sufficient sun light the tags send their data via the internet daily. Thus, it is no more necessary to download the data in the field. If geese with such a neckband tag are seen, we are highly interested to hear how the geese are behaving, how their condition is, if they tolerate the tags well and if they have a partner and/or young. This information (with a picture if available) can be send to the below email address. Thanks a lot for your help!
Andrea Kölzsch – (Max Plank Institute for Ornithology), Gerard Müskens (Alterra-WUR), Helmut Kruckenberg (Institute for Waterbird and Wetlands Research e.V.), Theo Gerrits (



Goose-watching from space

Whitefronted goose with solar transmitter

Species with long migrations, such as geese, use many staging sites along their migration route from the breeding to the wintering grounds. Currently, details of the sites, the paths of migration and length of staging are unknown. In our research we mainly used neckbands to mark birds and investigate their movements in well-checked areas. In the more eastern and northern areas, where no humans look for marked birds, we have more or less no data for our study. So it was a great pleasure and help when the Vogelschutz-Komitee e.V. offered financial support to start satellite-tracking of the White-fronted goose in the spring of 2006.

As a preliminary step, we obtained five transmitters and put them on geese in The Netherlands in January and February 2006. We learned a lot about the PTTs and how to fix them on the bird. We also developed an Internet tool that presents received data from the birds to the public in real time. Additionally we learned a lot about the complex migration system of this goose species. Because of the fantastic preliminary results, the use of transmitters will be continued in the autumn of 2006 with more PTTs.



We thank Vogelschutz-Komitee e.V. for funding this scientific research project.
The Dutch institute ALTERRA also supports this study.

2007-2008: Reseach on Whitefronted Goose migration continues

Thanks to financial support by Vogelschutz-Komitee e.V. and the Dutch Institute Alterra we were able to continue research on Whitefronted Goose migration. So in 2007 and 2008 additional 25 transmitters were put on geese in the Netherlands. Up to 2009 this geese send data. So can have a look to all their migration routes here.

Am Morgen des 28.2.2013 fing Gerhard Müskens gemeinsam mit ungarischen Kollegen Blessgänse.

2013: Flyway research of Hungarian Whitefronted geese

End of february 2013 a flock of 31 Whitefronts was caught near Zamoly in Hungary. Off this flock 5 birds were equipped with satellite transmitters and release in the whole group. All other birds were marked with collars. The migration routes of the Hungarian transmitters can be followed here .
Migration route of the complete set of tracked birds you can find here.

2009: one transmittered goose was released at Hungary

In 2008 we got a transmitter from hunter in Russia back. In spring 2009 it was offered on option to tagg another bird within a small study at nationalparc Fertöö in Hungary. This bird was named Gyula and flew a surprising route which you can see here.