2023 census dates

for the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census:

14–15 October
18–19 November

Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme Logo

Project partners

British Trust for Ornithology logo
JNCC logo
NatureScot Logo

Project partners

British Trust for Ornithology logo
JNCC logo

Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme

Greenland White-fronted Goose. Edmund Fellowes / BTO

The Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) monitors the abundance and breeding success of the UK’s native geese and migratory swans during the non-breeding season.

The Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) is a suite of species-specific surveys which monitors the different populations of geese (including Pink-footed, Barnacle, Bean, Brent, Greater White-fronted and Greylag) throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, to provide data for the conservation of their populations. The scheme also includes a quinquennial International Swan Census, which focuses on Whooper and Bewick's Swans.

The UK supports 13 internationally important populations of native geese and migratory swans. Many of the species which comprise these populations are Red or Amber-listed in the UK, and it is vital that we have up-to-date information on their status and health.

Scheme participants, both non-professional and professional surveyors, visit sites in the autumn and winter months to count numbers of migratory geese and swans and, where possible, do age assessments on the number of young birds present to monitor breeding success.

The GSMP network is comprised of a variety of organisations, groups and individuals involved in goose and swan monitoring throughout the UK, as well as in other countries which are covered by the birds' migratory flyways.

Time / skill required

  • Two or three monthly visits in winter on set weekends.
  • You will be able to identify and age migratory geese and swans, and count large numbers of birds accurately.
  • Contact your local organiser for information on training and mentoring opportunities in your area, or join one of the BTO training courses.
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Project timeline, contributions & findings

Project timeline

BTO-run Surveys

September-January Goose and Swan Age Assessments

October/November Icelandic-breeding Goose Census (IGC)

October-May Svalbard Barnacle Goose Census

January International Swan Census (every five years)

March Spring IGC (occasional)

View the latest results in Waterbirds in the UK

Waterbirds in the UK is the primary reporting mechanism for Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme results. It contains a summary of the winter’s survey data as well as species focus and feature articles. It also presents the results of the annual Wetland Bird Survey Report.

Partners and Supporting Organisations

The GSMP is funded jointly by the British Trust for Ornithology, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and NatureScot.

Specialist goose study groups and other ornithological organisations in the UK and overseas take a lead on a number of surveys.

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