• Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Size: 76%

Other Activities

Colour Ringing Scheme for Red-breasted Goose

The first ringing schemes on Red-breasted Goose started in 1996, when WWT and the nternational Artic Expedition IEE (Russian Academy of Science) managed to ring 200 birds in Taimir peninsular. These birds were ringed with metal ring of Russian Ringing Center and yellow plastic ring with black letter code. Subsequent ringing actions took place in Russia birds caught with other goose species targeted for ringing.

Currently two schemes are operational for colour ringing. Both of them are operated in Bulgaria. First started in 2011 operated by BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria and Wildfowl and Wetalands Trust. It involves geese caught during cannon netting in Bulgaria as part of EU Life+ funded project "Safe Grounds for the Redbreasts". The project started using yellow plastic rings with balck letters- two letter Alfa coded. These were initially used in 1996 expedition in Taimir, so small number of rings remain. They are used mainly as they  are well spotted in field because of the yellow colour. The project now uses white with balc letters plastic rings, Alfa-coded two letters. In 2011 six Redbreasts were ringed using yellow rings and metal rings of the Bulgarian ornithological station. In 2013 when 93 Redbreasts were caught, both yellow and white plastic rings were used. Subsequent observation of yellow ringed birds were reported from Kazakhstan during the spring migration.

Second ringing scheme is operated by the NGO Le Balkan and USFWS as part if the Bulgarian-US Redbreasted Goose Conservation Project. Ringed birds are caught using leg nooses in Bulgaria. All birds are equiped with satellite tags as well. The project used red plastic rings with white letters, Alfa-coded with two letters.

Obeservers are encouraged to report sightings via existing web sites for colour ring observations http://www.cr-birding.org/ or to Bulgarian Ringing Station and project contacts.


Study on Toxicology of the Red-breasted Goose

In January 2012 a pilot study was initiated to study the content of lead and other toxic substances in the wintering Red-breasted Geese in Bulgaria. The initiative is cooperation between BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria, CISC – Doñana Biological Station and the Institute for Wildlife and Game Research of Spain. The first sampling was done in this January 2012 when experts from BSPB and their colleagues from Spain – Dr. Andy Green and Dr. Rafael Mateo made a field visit in the area of Shabla and Tyulenovo in NE Bulgaria. The study will reveal what is the lead concentration in the population of the most threatened goose species in the World now – the Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis). Comparison will be made with lead content in a huntable species like the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons). Waterfowl species such as geese do get lead through ingesting lead shots from hunters’ cartridges that remain in the soil or the shallow parts of the lakes where geese might taking grid for the digestion. Lead in the body could be result of non lethal shots experienced by the birds when the pellets are slowly decomposing in the organism.  The method is based on analysis of fresh faces of geese and the results are compared to lead/aluminum ratio content in the soil and plants taken as food by the birds. The methodology also allows for stress hormones level to be tested and other pollutants as pesticides. The samples are being studied for concentrations of pesticided as well. The results  will contribute significantly to the better understanding the conservation problems of the wintering geese in the area and allow necessary steps to be taken regarding conservation planning and actions.

Long-term monitoring of the wintering population of Red-breasted Goose in Bulgaria

This is a monitoring initiative started by Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds in the early 1990s and since the winter season of 1995-1996 has been implemented following standard methodology, that includes forthnight counts from November till March, focused on the lakes of Shabla and Durankulak in NE Bulgaria. Since late 1990s the counts have been coordinated with Romanian Ornithological Society and colleagues from Ukraine. The monitoring scheme was a basis to assess changes in the global species population when harsh winter were concentrating the geese in few sites and were suitable to be assessed properly.

The data collected during this monitoring scheme provideds information of the species pheneology in Bulgaria, importance of the separate wetlands and peak concentraions. These are data used for jsutification of the designations of the lakes for Ramsar Sites and Natura 2000 SPAs. The monitoring scheme was first supported by the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Programme and BSPB own funds and since early 2000nd has been supported by Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

Todate some over 75,000 euros have been invested in the monitoring scheme providing one of the most systemnatic and detailed data set for the species from its wintering grounds. The scheme is planned for upgrading to transform into national wintering geese monitoring scheme to cover all key wintering geese sites in Bulgaria.

BSPB monitoring team at Durankulak Lake - BSPB archive
BSPB winter monitoring of geese in late 1990s
flock of Red-breasts near Durankulak Lake

For full picture details, please visit the credits page.