Wild goose chase: Geese flee high and far, and with aftereffects from New Year's fireworks

Andrea Kölzsch* (Corresponding author), Thomas K. Lameris, Gerhard J. D. M. Müskens, Kees H. T. Schreven, Nelleke H. Buitendijk, Helmut Kruckenberg, Sander Moonen, Thomas Heinicke, Lei Cao, Jesper Madsen, Martin Wikelski, Bart A. Nolet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


In the present Anthropocene, wild animals are globally affected by human activity. Consumer fireworks during New Year (NY) are widely distributed in W-Europe and cause strong disturbances that are known to incur stress responses in animals. We analyzed GPS tracks of 347 wild migratory geese of four species during eight NYs quantifying the effects of fireworks on individuals. We show that, in parallel with particulate matter increases, during the night of NY geese flew on average 5–16 km further and 40–150 m higher, and more often shifted to new roost sites than on previous nights. This was also true during the 2020–2021 fireworks ban, despite fireworks activity being reduced. Likely to compensate for extra flight costs, most geese moved less and increased their feeding activity in the following days. Our findings indicate negative effects of NY fireworks on wild birds beyond the previously demonstrated immediate response.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12927
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Letters
Early online date24 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Arctic breeding geese
  • GPS tracking
  • New Year fireworks
  • anthropause
  • compensatory feeding
  • human disturbance
  • roost behavior


Dive into the research topics of 'Wild goose chase: Geese flee high and far, and with aftereffects from New Year's fireworks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this