Tam's Tall Tales

- Pink Footed Geese Breaking Records


Pink Footed Geese in Flight by Andy Hawkins via Wikimedia



78,000 Pink Footed Geese in Montrose Basisn
In 2010 a record number of pink-footed geese flocked from thgeir summer breeding grounds in Iceland and Greenland. But this year numbers have been even larger with over 78,000 being recorded at the Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve this month. The count is part of The Icelandic Breeding Goose Census which is carried out at more than 120 sites across the UK, Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. Around 90% of the pink-footed goose population is thought to spend winter in the UK.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve manager Rab Potter said it was hard to know how long the geese would remain in the area in such large numbers. He said: "The number of pink-footed geese at Montrose Basin this year has taken all of us by surprise. Currently, pink-footed geese outnumber people in Montrose by almost seven to one."

Around 372,000 pink-footed geese spend the winter in the UK.. They fly well over 800 miles to get here and the flocks are an impressive sight in the sky. The goose is 2430 in long, the wingspan 5367 in. It has a short bill, bright pink in the middle with a black base and tip, and those distinctive pink feet. Populations have risen spectacularly over the last 50 years, due largely to increased protection from shooting on the wintering grounds. Numbers wintering in Great Britain have risen almost tenfold from 30,000 in 1950 to as total of 292,000 in October 2004. They return to their summer breeding grounds in mid April to early May.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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