Trade-Offs Migrant Grey-Faced Buzzards Face During Oceanic Crossings

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Costs and consequences of bird migration are especially heightened during high-risk over-water travels. 

Researchers created spatial models to evaluate potential migratory responses of “oceanic”, island-hopping grey-faced buzzards as they move through and out of the Philippine archipelago. Studying stopover sites, water crossings, and wind direction, researchers modeled 20 alternative migratory routes for each of four exit points as buzzards depart from the Philippines. Modeled grey-faced buzzard migration routes were between 1,582 and 2,970 kilometers and suggested unavoidable over-water crossings. Models showed that the optimal migratory strategy for these birds is to find the shortest route to an exit point with the greatest access to stopover habitats and fewest open-water crossings under wind resistance. Understanding how external factors affect the geography and characteristics of migratory routes can also help elucidate migratory strategies of other birds that face dangerous open-water crossings. 

Concepcion, C.B., Bildstein, K.L., Katzner, T.E., 2020, Modeled island hopping through the Philippines demonstrates trade-offs migrant birds face during oceanic crossings: Journal of Engineering, Environment and Agriculture Research, 

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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