Barnacle Geese caught in Dumfriesshire in February 1963

Hugh Boyd


A Wildfowl Trust rocket-netting team caught 316 Barnacle Geese at Caerlaverock, Dumfries on 2nd February 1963. These included 94 of 685 ringed in Spitsbergen in the summer of 1962, but none of 609 ringed in East Greenland in 1961, nor any ringed in the Netherlands. 3,000 (2,800-3,200) Barnacle Geese were in the vicinity. Estimates of the total Spitsbergen population in August 1962 from the proportion of recaptures give a most probable value of 2,300, with limits of 1,900-2,900. It seems likely that earlier estimates, based on field observations of rings on 26th October, 1962, were too high because some rings went unseen. There were 106 males and 82 females in a sample of 188 geese, which included only 5 first-winter birds. Weights of 20 males averaged 1.87 kg. (4 lb. 2 oz.); 15 females averaged 1.69 kg. (3 lb. 12 oz.). These weights suggest that the geese had not been adversely affected by the cold weather.

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