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Non-breeding Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus were recorded moulting for the first time in Latvia in 1989, in Estonia in 1993 and in Lithuania in 1997. Moulting has been recorded at 13 sites, three in Estonia and five each in Latvia and Lithuania, but not at all in South Sweden. The total number of moulting non-breeders increased from at least 83 birds in 2003 to at least 187 birds in 2012. The majority of the marked birds found moulting as non-breeders in the Baltic States usually originated from moulting sites within 25 km, the others from countries, including Germany and Poland, situated to the south of the moulting site. Distances between sites of hatching or breeding and moulting for these two groups ranged 0-81 km and 191-836 km, respectively. When caught for ringing, 40% were 2nd calendar year birds, the others older. Life-histories of Whooper Swans marked as moulters, or found moulting, in the Baltic States were used to discuss the lack of known moulting sites in South Sweden.

Boiko D.,Natural History Museum of Latvia | Kampe-Persson H.,Pulmani
Wildfowl | Year: 2010

This study describes the population status, development, distribution and habitat choice of breeding Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus breeding in Latvia. The breeding population increased from one breeding pair in 1973 to c. 260 pairs in 2009. The first pair of Whooper Swans nested in the western part of the country, and this area has remained a stronghold for the species within Latvia, supporting 86% of 256 sites where breeding was confirmed during the years 2000-2009, with 54% of pairs found in the districts of Liepaja, Talsi and Kuldiga. Most breeding sites were associated with small water-bodies: 77% were at artificial ponds and 17% at beaver dams. Few nests were found in lakes, mires, bogs and gravel pits. Results are discussed in relation to the increase in Whooper Swan numbers in other parts of Europe. ©Wildfowl & Wedands Trust.

Boiko D.,Natural History Museum of Latvia | Kampe-Persson H.,Pulmani
Ornis Fennica | Year: 2012

This study is the first to demonstrate moult migration in the Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus. Of cygnets hatched in Latvia and known to be alive about 99% left the country to moult somewhere else in their 2nd-6th calendar year. One-sixth of these were re-sighted in Finland during moult migration; these were solely from western Latvia. Moulting sites were recorded for nine individuals, of which seven had been marked with neck collars and two had satellite transmitters. Five of these nine swans moulted in Latvia, one in Estonia and three in the Arkhangelsk Region of Russia. Distances between sites of ringing and moulting varied between 0 and 1,455 km. All individuals were recorded moulting as two-or three-year old birds. Those moulting in Russia left Latvia/Estonia before 20 June and returned after mid September.

Spectacular increases in range and numbers of some swan and goose species around the Baltic Sea have resulted in more contacts between species and facilitated mixed breeding. Records of mixed breeding and observations during the non-breeding season of mixed families, mixed pairs and hybrids in which at least one of the parent species was a swan were compiled for Sweden. Finland, Leningrad and Kaliningrad Regions of Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark. There were twelve records of mixed breeding, nine of Mute Swan x Whooper Swan and one each of Mute Swan x Greylag Goose, Mute Swan x Greater Canada Goose and Whooper Swan x Bewick's Swan. Excluding the two cases involving a goose and two cases involving swans with captive background, there were eight breeding records in the wild. Seven of these can be explained by range expansions. The exception was a case where the identification of the male was unsure.

Boiko D.,Natural History Museum of Latvia | Hakon K.-P.,Pulmani
Wildfowl | Year: 2011

Of 396 Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus cygnets marked with neck collars in Latvia during the 2004-2008 breeding seasons, 70% were re-sighted at least once in winters 2004/05-2009/10. Overall, 91% of the 2,985 winter re-sightings were of swans seen in Germany, 5% were in Poland and the remaining 4% were distributed across Latvia Lithuania, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, Switzerland and Austria. The main wintering areas, situated 760-840 km from the ringing sites, were along the Rivers Elbe and Oder in inland northeast Germany and in neighbouring parts of Poland. The annual proportion of swans marked in Latvia which were re-sighted wintering in this region ranged from 41-80%. The maximum distance between the ringing and wintering sites recorded for each bird averaged 836 km (s.d. ±169 km, range = 407-1,518 km). The average distance between the ringing and wintering sites correlated with winter severity, particularly amongst swans in their second winter or older. © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

Kampe-Persson H.,Pulmani
Ornis Svecica | Year: 2010

Besides elucidating which populations that ought to be counted as naturalised basic data of 69 national populations of naturalised Anser and Branta geese in Europe, and some local populations as well, were given. These populations, representing 15 different taxa, varied widely in size, from one pair to 35,000 pairs. Taking into account that recent population estimates are lacking for about one third of the national populations, at the same time as several populations have been in a phase of rapid growth since the late 1990s, it is no exaggeration to state that the total European post-breeding population of naturalised geese in 2009 numbered more than 800,000 individuals. More than 99% of these were made up of the three species Greater Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Barnacle Goose.

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