Pre-nesting site use of satellite transmitter tagged Svalbard Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus.

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) Science Article 5

abstract

We deployed satellite transmitters (PTTs) to Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus to discover pre-nesting sites on Svalbard. 14 adult male were caught in Vest Stadil Fjord, Denmark and fitted with PTTs powered by batteries (n = 11; 30 g) or by solar power (n = 3; 45 g), March 2003 and 2004. All geese staged in the Trondheim Fjord area, mid Norway, for 2-3 weeks before onward migration to Vesteralen, north Norway, where average arrival and departure dates were 10 and 17 May 2003 and 15 and 19 May 2004. Average staging period in Vesteralen of satellite tagged geese was 4-6 days. No staging areas were identified between Vesteralen and Svalbard. Average arrival dates in Svalbard were 22 May 2003 and 21 May 2004. On arrival to Svalbard geese staged in southwestern coastal areas of Spitsbergen (n = 5) and around Isfjord, central Spitsbergen (n = 6), areas which tend to thaw early in spring. Geese staged on average at two staging areas before 1 June during a total staging period of about 8 days. First egg dates in the two years in Sassendalen, central Spitsbergen, were mainly between 26 and 31 May, so tagged geese should have arrived at their breeding areas before 1 June. Therefore, rapid follicular development must be initiated in Vesteralen, confirmed by observations of oocyte development in birds shot on arrival in Svalbard.

Glahder C.M., Fox A.D., Hubner C.E., Madsen J. & Tombre I.M., ARDEA 94 (3): 679-690

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