18 May 2012

17 May: Will Ludvig fly to Greenland?

Data from the next four birds caught at 7 May on Valsted Enge have now been sent from the radiotransmitters via the satellites to Argos in France, and are available to us. They do not reveal a behavior that is notably different from the other birds presented below. Instead of showing four more maps that is virtually identical with geese mainly staging on the small islets in the inlet, I will recall some previous tracking results, but first present our next bird:  

Ludvig is named after Ludvig Munsterhjelm (1880-1955), finnish zoologist and hunter, who in one of his many travel and hunting depictions ”Sommar i Norra Ishavet: jakt-, djur- och reseskildningar från Ishavet och Spetsbergen” (1911) described how the brent geese, found in June 1910 at Prins Karls Forland (the northwesternmost island in the Svalbard archipelago), occasionally migrated towards northwest over the Arctic Ocean (thus en route towards Greenland). In 1997 during our first satellite tracking study we found that some geese migrated directly from Denmark to Greenland – and in 2001 we had the first example of a goose that migrated via Svalbard to Greenland, as Munsterhjelm had mentioned. Thus it is recommended that scientists occasionally read old books – and thanks to librarian and birdwatcher Mikael Lagerborg, who dug this old information out of the shelves in a library.  
Sources: The satellite tracking studies carried out in 1997 and 2001 have been dealt with in depth by:

  1. Clausen, P., Green, M. & Alerstam, T. (2003): Energy limitations for spring migration and breeding: the case of brent geese Branta bernicla tracked by satellite telemetry to Svalbard and Greenland. - Oikos 103(2): 426-445. 
  2. Clausen, P. & Bustnes, J.O. (1998): Flyways of North Atlantic Light-Bellied Brent Geese Branta bernicla hrota Reassessed by Satellite Telemetry. In: Mehlum, F., Black, J. & Madsen, J. (eds.): Research on Arctic Geese. Proceedings of the Svalbard Goose Symposium, Oslo, Norway, 23-26 September 1997. - Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 200: 227-243.