Our officers and wildlife experts will be ringing geese in the Lake District tomorrow (Tuesday 2 July) as part of efforts to better understand the population in the area.

The project is a major part of the commitment made by us to assist the Windermere Geese Management Group.

Adam Grogan, senior scientific officer in our wildlife department, said:

“We are doing this to better understand where the geese come from and why. We may find that some of the geese are resident in Windermere all year round and that others are just visiting. The answers will help to inform the management of them in future.Canada goose ©  RSPCA Andrew Forsyth


“How it works is you ring a number of birds, using highly visible rings, over a number of years and wait for them to be seen and reported.”

How you can help

Members of the public are asked to look out for the birds, which will have a red ring on one leg with a unique four letter code. If they can read the four letters, they can report their sighting on the British Trust for Ornithology’s website.

Specialist officers from the North of England water rescue team will join specialist wildlife officers and staff from three of our four wildlife centres – RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire, RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk and RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset – for the operation.

Help understand the movement of the geese

Adam said:

“This is very much a learning operation, where we will be figuring out how best to do this, what works and what doesn’t etc. These are healthy birds and they won’t want to be caught so it will be a difficult task and we must ensure the operation is as stress free as possible.”

As well as the ringing programme, we, in collaboration with others, will be putting up signs providing advice on what to feed the geese in an effort to encourage them into certain areas and away from others.

Adam added:

“Many people feed bread to geese and whilst a small amount won’t do them too much harm it’s not really good for them.


Grain or green vegetables like cabbage are much better for feeding them on but, even then, it should only be in small amounts.  Food given to wild animals should only be a supplement to their wild diet.”

To assess the best method of goose management

Our wildlife department is working with the University of Cumbria on methods of managing access to some areas. Dr Roy Armstrong, senior lecturer at the Centre for Wildlife Conservation at the University of Cumbria, said:

“We are assessing all existing methods of goose control, including approaches such as habitat management.  In the past we have used this approach to reduce numbers of large wildfowl close to airports – for obvious reasons!


To know if these techniques will be effective around Windermere, we need to understand the movements of the birds which is why the ringing programme is so important.”

Steve Tatlock, park management ranger at the Lake District National Park Authority, one of the members of the Geese Management Group, said:

“We are happy to be working together. The work being carried out by the RSPCA and University of Cumbria will add significantly to our understanding of the issues and will help make informed decisions in the future.”

Find out more about how we are helping wildlife on our wildlife pages.

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We are only able to help animals thanks to generous donations from the public.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866.
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