‘Less honking, more tweeting!’ Request from RSPB

Pink-footed goose
Image via Wikipedia

It’s traditionally used to follow friends, famous faces and current affairs , but this Autumn the RSPB  is using Twitter to track the arrival of thousands of wintering geese.

The conservation charity is asking people to ‘tweet’ sightings or pictures of the birds using the hashtag #goosewatch.

Every year, as part of their migratory journey, hundreds of thousands of geese feed and roost on lochs and estuaries around the UK.

Reports of sightings in Scotland, the first of the RSPB regions to use Twitter in this way, are already coming in thick and fast through the social networking site.

Reports of a large geese flock over the RSPB’s  Loch of Strathbeg nature reserve on Friday morning kick-started the tweets.

Last year, the reserve recorded one of the biggest flocks in the UK with up to 70,000 geese using the reserve as a night –time roost.

Large flocks have also been recorded on the charity’s reserves at Vane Farm, Mersehead and Loch Gruinart.

The most commonly sighted species include the pink-footed goose, the greylag goose and the barnacle goose.

Louise Smith of RSPB Scotland said: “The arrival of the geese is very much a highlight of Scotland’s wildlife calendar, and the first are due any day now.  By using twitter to report sightings we can track their progress online and get an idea of where the large flocks are stopping across the country.  So the more people who are watching the skies the better!”

Emily Sanders, The RSPB’s Social Media Manager, says: “Twitter isn’t all about tracking your friends and celebrities, using it in this way will provide the RSPB with important information about the movements of our geese.

“And it’s testament to how much people love wildlife that they are squeezing in some tweets about this in amongst their updates on their daily lives. Our supporters are always telling us about the weird and wonderful sightings they are seeing in their gardens and further afield. It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘tweet’ – although in this case it is more like a loud ‘honk!’”

Wintering geese traditionally start to arrive in mid September, with numbers reaching their peak in October.

The RSPB is inviting anyone with a Twitter account to share their goose sightings or pictures by using the #goosewatch hashtag.

Those without a Twitter account can email sightings throughgoosewatch@rspb.org.uk.


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