The largest gathering of barnacle geese is currently on Parikkala Island. Photographed on May 6. Photo: Jari Kontiokorpi / North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

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The migration of the white-fronted geese is currently underway in Finland, as reported by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The past week has seen an influx of these geese, with the largest group of 20,000 birds spotted in Parikkala Island. The numbers of migrating birds have been relatively small so far, with the highest count being less than 5,000 at any given location. The birds are expected to continue their migration in the coming days.

The local gatherings of white-fronted geese have been particularly significant in the regions of South and North Karelia. The largest gathering of these geese was seen on May 6th on Parikkala Island, with an estimated count of 20,000 birds. In North Karelia, the largest flocks have been seen in Liperi, Rääkkylä, and Värtsilä, with almost 10,000 birds. On May 6th, there were an estimated 10,000 local white-fronted geese in Nurmijärvi, Uusimaa.

Similar movements of white-fronted geese have also been reported in Estonia, Russia, and Sweden. The largest group spotted in Estonia was a gathering of 6,000 geese in the Pärnu area on May 3rd. In Sweden, the largest gathering was spotted on May 5th, with a total of 12,400 geese on the country's southwest coast. In Russia, the largest group was reported on April 29th in Aunus, Karelia, with a count of 12,000 geese.

Researchers from Finland and the Netherlands have been tracking the migration patterns of these geese using GPS transmitters. As of May 9th, nine out of fifty tagged geese have been spotted in Finland, with two in Orimattila and the rest in Polvijärvi, Liperi, Leppävirta, Kerimäki, Valkeala, Hamina, and Somero. One tagged goose has been spotted in Russia, seven in Estonia, and one in Sweden. Fewer geese have been tracked compared to last week, and it is possible that some geese have already migrated beyond the reach of mobile networks.

According to Jarmo Koistinen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the migration of white-fronted geese is expected to continue in the coming week, with favorable weather conditions supporting their journey. The Baltic Sea region is currently experiencing warm and dry southeast winds that are expected to continue, driving the geese from Estonia into Finland.

BirdLife Finland and the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment are monitoring the migration of the white-fronted geese, aided by the Tiira bird information service, weather forecasts, and GPS trackers. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment is funding the research conducted by the University of Turku and the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

The migration of white-fronted geese is a vital ecological phenomenon, contributing to the biodiversity of the areas they pass through. Observing the patterns and behaviors of these birds provides valuable insights into their survival strategies and informs conservation efforts. The ongoing research into the migration of these geese serves as a testament to Finland's commitment to preserving its natural environment and its diverse wildlife.

HT

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