Adriaan "Adjan" de Jong

Adriaan De Jong
My research focuses on migratory birds of boreal landscapes. Focal species are Bean Goose Anser fabalis, Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica. Focal habitats are the sub-dominant elements of the boreal landscape: farmland, wetlands and man-made non-forested spaces (e.g. clear-cuts and settlements). In addition to counts and inventories, I work with genetic tools (including eDNA), stable isotopes and various markers (mainly GPS/GSM loggers). Most of my work occurs in an international context. I am an associate professor (Docent) at the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies.


Curiosity and an urge to explore new territory are the main drivers of my research. In addition, I want the results of my work to be useful for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata

My research on the Eurasian Curlew started in 1984 from an early notion of widespread decline. Unfortunately, this decline is still on-going and the causes poorly understood. Over the years, I’ve added some pieces of knowledge to the understanding of this decline, e.g. about habitat choice and behaviour. I’ve also gone a long way to funnel this knowledge into the real world of agriculture and into the development and implementation of the UNEP/AEWA international action plan for this species. Since 2018, I’m assigned national expert by Naturvårdsverket (the Swedish EPA) and a member of AEWA's International Eurasian Curlew Working Group.

Bean Goose Anser fabalis

My research on Bean Geese started with the observation that goose counts alone cannot provide the evidence needed for sustainable management (including harvest) and conservation. Gradually, I managed to apply new tools (e.g. GPS/GSM loggers and genetics) and to widen the scope of this study (to flyway and range level). The results show that the Bean Goose population is highly structured, and that management and harvest decisions should take this within-species diversity into account. Even for this species, my findings have been included in the UNEP/AEWA international action plan. Currently, I work to apply modern genetic tools (e.g. SNP-chip technology) to all sorts of genetic samples (including eDNA) from across the full range of this species.

East-West migration in boreal passerines

Several boreal bird species have a strong W-E component in their movements, e.g. Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica breeding in Fennoscandia and Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus arriving in Western Europe as presumed vagrants. The patterns and drivers of these movements are poorly understood, and so are the causes behind observed declines (RB) and increases (YBW) in numbers. In an international network ranging from Fennoscandia to Japan, I try to map these patterns and to unravel the true causes, e.g. through analyses of stable isotopes in feathers.

The Principle of the 3Rs

Originally developed for the use of animals in laboratory research, the Principle of the 3Rs now applies to all research in which animals are used, even wildlife research. The Principle of the 3Rs guides a continuous process to Replace, Reduce and Refine the use of animals in research. In a recent study, I demonstrated that the numbers of measurements on captured Bean Geese could be significantly reduced without loss of discriminating power, and thus, that the avoidance of these redundant measurements could benefit the well-being of the geese. From this, I developed a general strategy for the reduction of measurement steps, including a supporting R-script. In collaboration with the Swedish Center for Animal Welfare (SCAW), I run a pilot-study on handling times in bird ringing; a first step to develop evidence-based guidelines for 3R compliance in this field affecting c. 300,000 birds per year. Since 2019, I'm member of the group of experts supporting the National Committee of the Swedish 3R-center.

Effects of forest management and restoration on bird populations

A vast body of knowledge about boreal birds and forestry is available, but solid evidence for the effects of forst management on bird populations, e.g. from BACI studies, is alrgely missing - in particular on landscape scale. My collaboration with forest company Sveaskog aims to change this through a series av ornithological studies in their nation-wide network of Ecoparks. These studies are part of the department's Ecological Restoration group's long-term collaboration with Sveaskog which includes studies on several taxonomic groups, e.g. insects.

Birds and aviation safety

Based on in-depth knowledge of the occurrences and movements of large avian herbivores, I work to improve air traffic safety through reduced collision risk with large birds. Management of geese, swans and cranes around Umeå Airport is the first test case. The project is run in cooperation with Swedavia Umeå.



After more than 40 years of involvement in various school, university and community teaching activities, I have decided to leave the organized teaching scene to others and focus on research. This retirement doesn't include neither supervision, nor the active dissemination of questions, methods and results related to this research, though.


On-going research projects:

  • Genetic population structure of the Bean Goose Anser fabalis 

  • Monitoring spring-staging swans, geese and cranes in coastal landscapes of northern Sweden

  • Effects of forest management and restoration on boreal bird populations
  • GPS/GSM transmitter-based study of Taiga Bean Geese movement and habitat choice 

  • Long-term monitoring of breeding population of the Eurasian Curlew in Hössjö (c. 700 ha)

  • Animal welfare aspects of bird ringing
  • Large avian herbivores and Air traffic safety

  • Stable isotope based studies of migratory boreal species (e.g. Rustic Bunting and Yellow-browed Warbler).



    In most of these projects, I conduct the full suite of actions: from idea, planning and funding to fieldwork, analyses and publication.



Long-term monitoring is an impotant part of severeal of my research programs, but none of those are currently included in the environmental monitoring (Miljöanalys) program of SLU.


For projects in Sweden, I collaborate with academic colleagues in e.g. Lund, Uppsala and Umeå, and with an array of partners in administration, education and industry. Colleagues within SLU are particularly important.

For international projects, I have a large network of professional and amateur partners in e.g. Norway, UK, Germany, Russia, Mongolia and South Korea.

My partnership with Sveaskog is important in the light of the Faculty of Forest Sciences program for outreach to the natural resources industry.


I was born and raised in the Netherlands and have a strong background in a youth organization for nature study and environmental protection (similar to “Fältbiologerna” in Sweden). After five years at Wageningen University (formerly LH) and a Candidate A degree in Environmental Sciences, I moved to Sweden.

I came to Umeå in September 1978 for complementary courses in forest ecology and management, and then worked for the Department of Forestry at Umeå University 1979-1991. After the collapse of this department, I took a teacher’s degree in Biology and Natural Sciences and from 1992; I held various positions in youth and adult schools. In 2006, I decided to spend the rest of my professional career in academic ornithology.

I’ve always been much more of an ornithologist sensu stricto than a bird-watcher and have been active in a wide variety of bird study projects since childhood. I’m also used to initiate and run my own projects and businesses.


In line with my decision to skip further involvement in formalized teaching, I have skipped my involvement in Bachelor and Master supervision, but plan for further (co-)supervision of doctoral students and postdocs.

Publikationer i urval

de Jong, A. (2020) Fokus: Fjädrar. Tung kunskap från lätta fjädrar. Vår Fågelvärld 4.2020: 40-42.

de Jong, A. (2020) Stora fåglar kring Umeå Airport – en pilotstudie. Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för Vilt, Fisk och Miljö. Rapport 1-2020.

Berg, L. & de Jong, A. (2020) Fokus: Fåglar som försöksdjur. Fåglarna i vår tjänst. Vår Fågelvärld 2.2020: 28-32.

de Jong, A. (2019) Are railways detrimental to bird populations? A BDACI study on the construction of the Bothnia Line Railway. bioRxiv preprint first posted online Jul. 3, 2019. DOI:

Østnes, J.E., Kroglund, R.T., Kleven, O. & de Jong, A. (2019) Historien om S18 – ei taigasædgås fra Børgefjell. Vår Fuglefauna 42 (2): 82-86.

de Jong, A. (2019) Less is better. Avoiding redundant measurements in studies on wild birds in accordance to the Principles of the 3Rs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science - Animal Behavior and Welfare 6:195. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2019.00195

de Jong, A., Torniainen, J., Bourski, O.V., Heim, W. & Edenius, L. (2019) Tracing the origin of vagrant Siberian songbirds with stable isotopes: the case of Yellow-browed Warbler (Abrornis inornatus) in Fennoscandia. Ornis Fennica 96 (2): 90-99.

de Jong, A., Kleven, O., Østnes, J.E., Kroglund, R.T., Vahlström, I., Nilsson, J. & Spong, G. (2019) Birds of different feather flock together - genetic structure of Taiga Bean Goose in Central Scandinavia. Bird Conservation International. Volume 29, Issue 2 June 2019, pp. 249-262. doi:10.1017/S0959270918000205

de Jong, A. (2017) Övervakning 2016 och 2017 av vårrastande gäss, svanar och tranor i Norrbottens och Västerbottens kustland. [Monitoring spring-staging geese, swans and cranes in coastal regions of Norrbotten and Västerbotten County 2016-2017.] Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies, Report 7/2017.

LaZerte, S.E., Reudink, M.W., Otter, K.A., Kusack, J., Bailey, J.M., Woolverton, A., Paetkau, M., de Jong, A. & Hill, D.J. (2017) feedr and A paired R package and user-friendly Web application for transforming and visualizing animal movement data from static stations. Ecology and Evolution 7 (19): 7884–7896.

de Jong, A. & Olsson, F. (2017) What do Bohemian Waxwings Bombycilla garrulus find on agricultural fields in winter? Ornis Svecica 27: 37–40.

Fox, A.D., Hobson, K.A., de Jong, A., Kardynal, K.J., Koehler, G. & Heinicke, T. (2016) Flyway population delineation in Taiga Bean Geese Anser fabalis fabalis revealed by multi-element feather stable isotope analysis. Ibis 159, 66–75.

Edenius, L., Choi, C-Y., Heim, W., Jaakkonen, T., de Jong, A., Ozaki, K and Roberge, J-M. (2016) The next common and widespread bunting to go? Global population decline in the Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica.Bird Conservation International 27 (1): 35-44.

Sjöberg, K. & de Jong, A. (2014) Fågelstudier 2009 med anledning av Botniabanans dragning över Umeälvens mynningsområde. [Ornithological studies 2009 related to the construction of the Bothnia Line railway through the Ume River Delta.] Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies, Report 30/2014.

de Jong, A., Magnhagen, C. & Thulin, C-G. (2013) Variable flight initiation distance in incubating Eurasian curlew. Behavioral ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1089-1096.

de Jong, A., Heinicke, T., Aarvak, T. & Øien, I.J. (2013) Movements of Tundra Bean Geese Anser fabalis rossicus neck-banded in northern Scandinavia. Ornis Norvegica 36: 28-31.

de Jong, A. (2012). Seasonal shift of foraging habitat among farmland breeding Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata. Ornis Norvegica 35: 23-27.

Nilsson, L., de Jong, A., Heinicke, T. & Sjöberg, K. (2010) Satellite tracking of Bean Geese Anser fabalis fabalis and A.f. rossicus from spring staging areas in northern Sweden to breeding and moulting areas. Ornis Svecica 20 (3-4): 184-189.

de Jong, A. (2004) Häckning av småspov Numenius phaeopus på jordbruksmark inom Vindelns kommun in 2003. [Confirmed breeding of Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on farmland in Vindeln municipality in 2013.] Ornis Svecica 14 (1): 52-56.

de Jong, A. (2002) Häckning av smalnäbbad simsnäppa Phalaropus lobatus på jordbruksmark.[Confirmed breeding of Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus on agricultural land.] Ornis Svecica 12 (1): 89-90.

de Jong, A. (1996) Abnormt långsmala tofsvipeägg - tecken på intraspecifik boparasitism? [Abnormally elongated eggs in Northern Lapwing – indicative of intra-specific nest parasitism?] Ornis Svecica 6 (1): 75-76.