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Licentiate thesis, 2022

Push and pull strategies : behaviour of geese in relation to scaring and set-aside fields

Teräväinen, Malin


Geese have been increasing in numbers in Europe during the last decades. They forage in agricultural landscapes and may cause damage to sensitive crops. Scaring and set-aside fields are two commonly used methods to alleviate damage by “pushing” geese from sensitive fields and “pulling” them to areas where they don’t cause damage. I investigated field selection and the utilization of a set-aside field, as well as the effect of two scaring measures on behaviour of greylag geese (Anser anser) in two areas in south central Sweden. I concluded that the set-aside field was generally selected more than other fields during spring and summer, but not during fall. In addition, an increased field selection with a decreasing distance to roost was found. GPS data from tagged greylag geese were compared before and after scaring. After one hour scared geese were on average 1146 meters (95% C.I. 843 - 1449) away from the scaring location. The number of positions in close vicinity to the scaring location (“return rate”) decreased significantly during at least 48 hours after scaring. Geese scared by walking had a slightly higher probability of returning than if scared by a drone. Geese also showed a significant shift in habitat use, from cropland to wetland the first four hours after scaring, but then returned to arable land. I conclude that scaring can work as a “push strategy”. However, scaring is not a full solution at the landscape level, as geese continue to forage in other fields soon after a scaring event. A combination of scaring and areas such as set-aside fields, where geese can graze undisturbed without causing damage, are therefore important to avoid just “moving the problem around”.


Anser anser; behaviour; conservation conflicts; crop protection; sacrificial crop; wildlife damage management

Published in

ISBN: 978-91-576-9986-2, eISBN: 978-91-576-9987-9
Publisher: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

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