For consecutive year, experts from the University of North Kazakhstan and ASBK conducted a field expedition to capture and tag wild geese during the spring migration in northern Kazakhstan.
The North Kazakhstan region is a transit zone for numerous flocks of wild geese that are on their way to their breeding grounds in Arctic Russia. The team led by Ivan Zuban and with the participation of the ASBK colleague from, who is part of the team of their team implementing the LIFE Project in Kazakhtan – Alexei Tymoshenko, managed to catch 5 Red-breasted Geese and fitted them with transmitters. Due to restrictions and precautions related to COVID, the BSPB team was unable to travel to join the expedition this spring, and with the assistance of the AEWA Secretariat, we were able to send the transmitters for tagging red-breasted geese to Kazakhtan. Thus, the transmitters managed to arrive on time before the start of field work.
It is especially important to note that the installed GSM-GPS transmitters are the first collars to be placed on Red-breasted Geese. The collars were developed by the company Ornitela in close partnership and collaboration, based on the good collaboration and track record that BSPB has with them. So in the period 2019-2020 we managed to jointly succeed in the development of the first collar-based transmitters for Redbreasts. The designed transmitters were successfully tested on captive Red-breasted Geese in partnership with the Jersey Zoo last year. Recently this type of transmitter has already been successfully tested on a big number of Barnacle Geese already by colleagues in the UK. The main advantage of the collar transmitters is the reduction of the time for processing the birds and fitting the transmitters, as well as the fact that no previous experience and training is required for being able to fit them, which is done extremely quickly and easily. The field results on Barnies by colleagues in the UK and the trial study at the Jersey Zoo showed that they are reliable and safe enough and do not lead to significant changes in the behavior of birds and birds easily and quickly get used to them.
A total of 3 male and 2 female birds were marked, and the observations of the marked birds did not show much concern about the collars. We hope that the birds will successfully complete their spring migration and will be able to gather enough valuable information for the conservation of this species in the coming months and years. The fieldwork and tracking of the Redbreasts this year are supported by the Whitley Awards funding.
The main purpose of tracking activities is, first and foremost, to collect more data on threats and mortality factors of the species during the migration period and at the same time to support on-site monitoring activities in individual range countries and to collect data on the behavior and life cycle of the species in the conditions of the changing climate and how this affects its distribution and behavior during migration.
The movement of the tagged geese will soon be possible to be observed on the LIFE for Safe Flight project web page.