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A Charity Inspired By The Amazing Journey of Brent Geese

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

A brown brent goose sit on a lake

Every year, as the autumn leaves begin to change and a chill creeps into the air, a remarkable natural spectacle takes place along the Southern coastlines of the UK. Flocks of Brent Geese, elegant and resilient birds, embark on a journey spanning thousands of miles to reach their wintering grounds in the UK. This migration, which occurs usually in October, is a testament to the incredible power of nature and the tenacity of these remarkable creatures. In this blog post, we will delve into the captivating world of Brent Geese and their annual migration while highlighting the heart warming story of the Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital, a Charity named after one of its first patients, Bren the Brent Goose.

Brent Geese Migration | A Journey of Hope

Brent Geese, scientifically known as Branta bernicla, are a species of small to medium-sized geese that breed in the Arctic tundra regions of Siberia, Canada, and Greenland. However, they are most renowned for their winter migration to the United Kingdom, which typically begins in October. This incredible journey spans thousands of miles across the open ocean and often takes several weeks.

Why do Brent Geese migrate to the UK? The answer lies in the harsh Arctic winters, where the geese's breeding grounds freeze over, making it impossible for them to find food. In search of milder climates and a reliable food source, these geese head south to the UK's estuaries and coastal areas. The UK's wetlands and salt marshes provide them with an abundant supply of eelgrass and other aquatic vegetation, which sustains them through the winter months, until they leave in April time. A good place to spot thousands of flocks of brent geese is at RSPB Nature Reserves in the South - RSPB Pagham Harbour, PSB Medmerry and RSPB Langstone Harbour are ideal locations.

A flock of brown brent geese on wetland

The Arrival of Bren the Brent Goose

Over 50 years ago, the story of Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital began with a remarkable Brent Goose patient named Bren. Dennis Fenter, the founder of the charity, cared for Bren when he arrived with a damaged wing. At first glance, the odds seemed stacked against Bren's survival. However, against all expectations, Bren demonstrated incredible resilience and spirit.

Despite the severity of his injury, Bren managed not only to survive but also to thrive under the loving care of Dennis and his team at Brent Lodge. His remarkable journey inspired the naming of the charity, serving as a symbol of hope and the potential for recovery even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

A female mallard duck being held by someone from Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital. A green polo shirt with the Brent Lodge logo is in the background
We care for over 3,000 wildlife casualties every year including dozens of water fowl species - geese, ducks, swans and gulls are the most common.

Brent Lodge | A Charity Dedicated to Wildlife Care

Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital, was established to provide care and rehabilitation to injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife, including over 3,000 birds and mammals every year. With a mission to treat, rehabilitate, and release wildlife back into their natural habitats, the charity plays a vital role in preserving the local ecosystem and aiding the survival of these beautiful creatures. Injuries to wings, ingestion of pollution, cruelty and exhaustion are some the main reasons why geese might be admitted to Brent Lodge, whilst taking residency in the South of the UK. Brent Geese are an IUCN Amber Listed species because of the few remaining numbers found at UK sites.

Brent Lodge work and knowledge extends to hundreds of UK species, including swans, owls, hedgehogs, foxes, garden birds and more. Their dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that injured wildlife receives the best possible care and the chance to return to the wild where they belong.

A flock of Brent Geese flying in a blue sky

The migration of Brent Geese to the UK is a magnificent natural event not to be missed. As we witness the arrival of Brent Geese each October, let us not only marvel at their incredible journey but also appreciate the dedication of wildlife organisations like Brent Lodge, which ensure that these magnificent creatures have a fighting chance to thrive and contribute to the rich tapestry of our natural world.

By Asha Park

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