The peak of red-breasted geese numbers in Coastal Dobrudzha registered at the end of January

The highest number of wintering Red-breasted Geese in Coastal Dobrudzha was registered only in the last days of January. At that time, 5844 Red-breasted Geese – a globally threatened species and 2303 Greater White-fronted Gsse – were observed during the regular observation of the wintering birds in the region of Natura 2000 sites – Durankulak Lake and Shabla Lake Complex.

photo Mihail Iliev/Eagle Marsh

These are the highest numbers of both species for this winter season, although ongoing monitoring has been carried out since November. The reason for this is the exceptionally mild winter and high temperatures this winter. And although these are the highest numbers of geese currently, they are much lower than those observed in previous years.

The geese in the area of Coastal Dobrudzha are now heading up to the north. The factors influencing their movements to Romania are the significant warm weather in the whole area, the thawing of favourable water bodies in our Northern neighbor and, the last but not least, the disturbance caused by the hunting activities around the roost sites and some of the foraging areas.

photo Daniel Mitev/BSPB Red-breasted Geese

Another source of disturbance, leading to permanent displacement of the waterbirds in Durankulak Lake is the illegal net fishing during the night by poachers. This is a permanent threat for the birds using the lake for roost winter and migration and for breeding in summer.

Observations of the wintering Red-breasted Geese in Dobroudja are carried out under the project “Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose along its global flyway”, which is implemented by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and co-funded by the EU LIFE Program.