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About the Greylag Goose,|
non-breeding Greylag geese visit the Oostvaardersplassen each year.
Throughout the year, there are three periods in which the numbers of
geese in the reserve are at their highest: during May geese travel from
Germany and Sweden to the Oostvaardersplassen to moult; and during
spring and autumn, geese travel from Denmark and Sweden to feed in the
Non-breeding Greylag geese perform a moulting migration to well defined
moulting areas, where they moult their primaries simultaneously and are
flightless for about 28 days. The Oostvaardersplassen has become the
most important moulting site for Greylag Geese in Europe.
The majority of those
moulting in the Oostvaardersplassen are non-breeding birds. However, the
number of breeding pairs that have been sited in the Oostvaardersplassen
is steadily increasing.
The timing of moult influences the moment at which a goose can start
building up its body reserves needed for autumn migration, effecting
their survival and future breeding performance.
During the moulting period in June they live for a few weeks in the
reeds eating reed mace, reed leaves and root stocks (Phragmites
australis) and stay in the thick reeds for protection during this
Prior to and immediately after wing moult, the geese spend a short time
feeding on adjacent grassy fields.
This intensive reed grazing and grubbing has radical consequences, it
creates a less dense marshland and keeps the ponds open, benefiting many
plant, animal and bird species that prefer this type of habitat.