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Thursday, January 28, 2021
Geese Behaviour Trial Completed

10 Geese equipped with newest GNSS tags ...

On the 29th of June a group of scientists and students from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW, Wageningen, the Netherlands), in collaboration with Sovon (Nijmegen, the Netherlands), successfully caught 123 moulting Canada geese. Ten of the largest males were selected and equipped with novel E-Track backpack tags that collect EGNOS-improved GNSS positions and 3D accelerometer data.

The tags are newly developed by Biotrack Ltd. (UK) and Oxford University (UK) and weigh about 80g, which is less than 2% of the geese’ body weight. The scientists collected continuous position data and accelerometer readings at high frequencies, enabling them for the first time to follow a flock of moulting geese day and night. The geese were also equipped with numbered neck and leg rings, enabling recognition from a distance. During three days, the ten geese were observed and behaviours recorded. This data will be combined with the GNSS positions and accelerometer data, giving ground truth for behavioural recognition algorithms, enabling the group of the NIOO to answer questions about the social structure and foraging behaviour of moulting Canada geese.

(Photos: Andrea Kölzsch, NIOO)

On the 10th of July, the group then attempted and succeeded in the unlikely endeavour to recapture the geese! All ten tags could be recovered, so that (i) the birds will not have to carry them their whole life to come and (ii) new, exciting ecological questions can be tackled reusing the tags.


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E-Track is carried out in the context of the Galileo FP7 R&D programme supervised by the GSA (Nr. 277679-2)