Summer count of Greylag Geese in Denmark 17th January 2023
In 2022, the size of the Danish Greylag Goose population was estimated through the involvement of experienced and professional goose counters as well as a number of volunteers - including both hunters and birdwatchers - signing up for their first goose count.
By Gitte Høj Jensen, Aarhus University & Iben Hove Sørensen, Danish Hunters' Association
Photo by Jørgen Peter Kjeldsen
The overarching goal of the goose count project was to estimate the summer population size of Greylag Goose in Denmark. Through the recruitment of new volunteers, the aim was to achieve better coverage than during previous counts and to produce a model for future population estimates. 96 new volunteers were recruited, of whom 2/3 were hunters, and they participated alongside 99 experienced goose counters - adding up to a total of 195 participants.
Based on the count data, a total of ~141 000 Greylag Geese were present in Denmark during early August 2022. This total is expected to be representative, although probably a minimum estimate, as not all suitable sites were covered.
Considering the fact that Greylag Goose is numerous and widespread in Denmark throughout the year, the national count was expected to be a challenging task. However, the project was successful, not least because a significant number of new volunteers were involved - with the majority wishing also to be involved in future projects.
Furthermore, this estimate of the Danish summer population of Greylag Goose is an important piece in the international puzzle related to the management of the NW/SW European population of Greylag Goose. Data will be used by the AEWA European Goose Management Platform to manage the NW/SW European population of Greylag Goose.
The aim of the international management plan for this population is to maintain the population in favourable conservation status while addressing the growing ecological and socio-economic challenges as well as ensuring sustainable hunting.