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Seasonal and age-related variation in daily travel distances of California Condors

September 1, 2021

Despite a dramatic recovery from the brink of extinction, California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) still face significant anthropogenic threats. Although condor movement patterns across large temporal scales are understood, less is known about their movements on a fine temporal scale. We used a trajectory-based analysis of GPS telemetry data gathered from condors during 2013 to 2018 to investigate the relationship between the distances condors travel in a day, demographic characteristics (e.g., age and sex), and time of year. Most (>71.4%) daily travel distances by condors were <100 km, and, on average, condors traveled 70.1 ± 60.9 km/d (x̄ ± SD). On two occasions one condor traveled >400 km in a single day (477 km one day and 415 km the following day). The tendency for condors to travel long distances increased with age, and condors traveled longer distances during the summer and when nesting. Traveling such long distances likely exposes birds to threats across a greater variety of landscapes than would be expected for birds that moved shorter distances. Given anticipated condor range expansion and population increase, this work highlights the importance of coordinating condor conservation across the broad spatial scales at which they move.

Publication Year 2021
Title Seasonal and age-related variation in daily travel distances of California Condors
DOI 10.3356/JRR-20-100
Authors Jonathan C. Hall, Insu Hong, Sharon Poessel, Melissa A. Braham, Joseph Brandt, Joseph Burnett, Todd E. Katzner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Raptor Research
Index ID 70229691
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center