Spatial Ecology of Wide-Ranging Birds

Science Center Objects

Flight facilitates comparatively rapid access to large areas, and the study of the movements of birds is essential for learning their relationships to their environment, and for managing the resources on which they depend and conserving the communities in which they live. Often the amount of space used by raptors varies with behavior associated with the birds’ ages and with the annual cycle. For example, some adults use a smaller area during the nesting season than during the nonbreeding period of the year, and migratory birds can traverse vast areas between locales. Results from this research describe space use by raptors and the geographical links among areas used during the year and as birds’ pass through age classes, and these studies provides data about habitat associations. Knowing about birds’ use of space also is useful for assessing threats such as natural perturbations, environmental contamination, habitat fragmentation and loss, and responses to other forms of anthropogenic change to the environment.