Humber Pink-footed Goose count hits new high


A new high count of Pink-footed Geese has been made along the Humber, with some 60,000 birds tallied in mid-October.

The record tally was amassed during the annual co-ordinated count around the estuary, which is conducted by a team of volunteers from the RSPB, BTO and others. The count is made every October as it is in this month that numbers peak in the area. Later in the autumn, some birds move south to North Norfolk and The Wash, while others commute to Lancashire.

Some 60,000 Pink-footed Geese were counted around the Humber during October 2023 (Andy Thompson).

Pink-footed Goose has a chequered history around the Humber. Historically, numbers were healthy in the area, but started to decline in the mid-20th century due to excessive hunting, changes in land use and a succession of particularly cold winters.

Over recent years, however, the species has bounced back across the estuary as hunting pressures have reduced and agricultural practices once again favour plentiful feeding for the geese. In October 2017, a count of 27,000 was then an all-time high, meaning that the number of Pink-footed Geese choosing to stage in the Humber area has more than doubled in only six years.