On the 4 and 5th July, a team comprising staff from Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Slimbridge, Food & Environment Research Agency, Exeter University and Cotswold Water Park Trust, caught, tagged and released 146 Canada Geese on 5 sites across the CWP.
This work is part of a research project coordinated by WWT, FERA and Exeter University; the key study aim, using the Canada Geese of the CWP, is to assess how stable a population is, to assess which birds associate together and how and if this changes; this will include assessing how these birds move around the CWP, how they form winter flocks, whether they are faithful to breeding sites and whether they roam beyond the CWP and into the wider Thames Valley. This work has implications for understanding how birds may respond to disease.
Geese were caught during their moult; whilst unable to fly, canoeists herd the birds quietly into pens on the lake edge. All birds (except the smallest goslings) have been fitted with orange neck collars (undertaken under licence, supervised by WWT and FERA). Each neck collar bears a 2-letter code.
Although Bea Downing, PhD student from Exeter University coordinating this study, will undertake extensive fieldwork monitoring these birds, their associations and their locations, we would appreciate further observations from local birders too. If you see any of these collared birds, please could you send in these observations to the blog, noting the date and location, plus total flock size, numbers of tagged birds and their collar codes. Please also indicate in which direction the codes were read (upwards or downwards).
More information will follow in due course but if you have further queries, please let me know and I can refer queries to the project team. Gareth Harris