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      Migration strategy of a flight generalist, the Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

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      Behavioral Ecology

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Competition for early arrival in migratory birds

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            Tracking long-distance songbird migration by using geolocators.

            We mapped migration routes of migratory songbirds to the Neotropics by using light-level geolocators mounted on breeding purple martins (Progne subis) and wood thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina). Wood thrushes from the same breeding population occupied winter territories within a narrow east-west band in Central America, suggesting high connectivity of breeding and wintering populations. Pace of spring migration was rapid (233 to 577 kilometers/day) except for one individual (159 kilometers/day) who took an overland route instead of crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Identifying songbird wintering areas and migration routes is critical for predicting demographic consequences of habitat loss and climate change in tropical regions.
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              Migratory shearwaters integrate oceanic resources across the Pacific Ocean in an endless summer.

              Electronic tracking tags have revolutionized our understanding of broad-scale movements and habitat use of highly mobile marine animals, but a large gap in our knowledge still remains for a wide range of small species. Here, we report the extraordinary transequatorial postbreeding migrations of a small seabird, the sooty shearwater, obtained with miniature archival tags that log data for estimating position, dive depth, and ambient temperature. Tracks (262+/-23 days) reveal that shearwaters fly across the entire Pacific Ocean in a figure-eight pattern while traveling 64,037+/-9,779 km roundtrip, the longest animal migration ever recorded electronically. Each shearwater made a prolonged stopover in one of three discrete regions off Japan, Alaska, or California before returning to New Zealand through a relatively narrow corridor in the central Pacific Ocean. Transit rates as high as 910+/-186 km.day-1 were recorded, and shearwaters accessed prey resources in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere's most productive waters from the surface to 68.2 m depth. Our results indicate that sooty shearwaters integrate oceanic resources throughout the Pacific Basin on a yearly scale. Sooty shearwater populations today are declining, and because they operate on a global scale, they may serve as an important indicator of climate change and ocean health.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Behavioral Ecology
                Behavioral Ecology
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                1045-2249
                1465-7279
                December 19 2011
                August 30 2011
                : 23
                : 1
                : 58-68
                10.1093/beheco/arr150
                © 2011

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