Diurnal Timing of Nonmigratory Movement by Birds

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Birds optimize foraging either by minimizing energy loss through passive movement or by maximizing energetic gain through foraging.

An international team of researchers assessed whether signals of either of these strategies are detectable in the timing of birds’ daily movement activity. They compared timing of movement among species and examined how flight mode, such as soaring or flapping, and foraging habitat affected the timing of movement activity. Using a combined data set of 64,570 days of GPS movement data for 991 birds from 49 species, researchers found that dissimilarity among daily activity patterns was best explained by flight mode. Terrestrial soaring birds began activity later and stopped activity earlier than pelagic (open ocean) soaring or flapping birds. Among pelagic birds, surface foragers were active throughout all 24 hours of the day while diving foragers matched their active hours more closely to daylight hours. This study demonstrates that flight mode and foraging habitat influence temporal patterns of daily movement activity of birds.

Mallon, J.M., Tucker, M., Beard, A., Bierregaard, Jr., R.O., Bildstein, K.L., Böhning-Gaese, K., Brzorad, J.N., Buechley, E.R., Bustamante, J., Carrapato, C., Castillo-Guerrero, J.A., Clingham, E., Desholm, M., DeSorbo, C.R., Domenech, R., Douglas, H., Duriez, O., Enggist, P., Farwig, N., Fiedler, W., Gagliardo, A., Garcia-Ripollés, C., Gil Gallús, J.A., Gilmour, M.E., Harel, R., Harrison, A., Henry, L., Katzner, T.E., Kays, R., Kleyheeg, E., Limiñana, R., López-López, P., Lucia, G., Maccarone, A., Mallia, E., Mellone, U., Mojica, E.K., Nathan, R., Newman, S.H., Oppel, S., Orchan, Y., Prosser, D.J., Riley, H., Rösner, S., Schabo, D.G., Schulz, H., Shaffer, S., Shreading, A., Silva, J.P., Sim, J., Skov, H., Spiegel, O., Stuber, M.J., Takekawa, J.Y., Urios, V., Vidal-Mateo, J., Warner, K.S., Watts, B.D., Weber, N., Weber, S., Wikelski, M., Žydelis, R., Mueller, T., Fagan, W.F., 2020, Diurnal timing of nonmigratory movement by birds: the importance of foraging spatial scales: Journal of Avian Biology, https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.02612 

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Date published: November 6, 2017
Status: Active

Bird Movement and Migration

Migration is an amazing annual event. Every year billions of animals – birds, mammals, insects, and fish – make long-distance journeys from breeding grounds to wintering grounds. Most northern hemisphere birds migrate southward, but there are many other ways that birds move seasonally. If we want to protect birds that take these long distance journeys, we need to understand why they move, why...

Contacts: Todd E Katzner