Spring ice formation on goose neck collars: effects on body condition and survival in Greenland white-fronted geese Anser albifrons flavirostris

Anthony D. Fox, Alyn J. Walsh, Mitch D. Weegman, Stuart Bearhop, Carl Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


During sub-zero temperatures and strong winds on 10–11 April 2013, we witnessed ice accumulation on plastic collars of staging Greenland white-fronted geese Anser albifrons flavirostris in Iceland. Ice affected 19 of 77 collared individuals seen, all of which had lost ice by 12 April, despite continuing freezing temperatures. Temperatures exceeded freezing after 14 April; daily observations found no recurrence of ice formation before geese left for Greenland in early May. Abdominal profile scores (a field assessment of accumulated body fat) did not differ significantly between geese with and without ice before departure from Iceland. There was no significant difference in return rates between geese with iced (79 %) or un-iced collars (83 %) reported the following autumn. These first reports of collar icing in over 30 years of the project give cause for concern and vigilance, but we recommend continued use of collars given exceptional weather conditions and lack of effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-834
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Thanks to Arnór Þórir Sigfússon, Hlynur Óskarsson and Kristinn Haukur Skarpheðinsson for collar resightings, Guðmundur A. Guðmundsson for ringing equipment, logistical support and permissions, the Agricultural University of Iceland, especially Björn Þorsteinsson, Anna Þórhallsdóttir and family for help and support, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust for funding MDW, CM and Geoff Hilton and David Tierney and the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Irish government’s Heritage Service for funding AJW. Thanks to our respective employers for supporting this work and to Ed Burrell, Ruth Cromie, Geoff Hilton, Anthony Schultz, Svenja Auhage and Baz Hughes.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Fat stores
  • Neck bands
  • Seasonal mortality
  • Spring staging
  • Survival


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