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Barometer logging reveals new dimensions of individual songbird migration

Sjöberg, Sissel LU ; Pedersen, Lykke ; Malmiga, Gintaras LU ; Alerstam, Thomas LU ; Hansson, Bengt LU orcid ; Hasselquist, Dennis LU ; Thorup, Kasper ; Tøttrup, Anders P. ; Andersson, Arne LU orcid and Bäckman, Johan LU orcid (2018) In Journal of Avian Biology 49(9).
Abstract

Recent advances in tracking technology are based on the use of miniature sensors for recording new aspects of individual migratory behaviour. In this study, we have used activity data loggers with barometric and temperature sensors to record the flight altitudes as well as ground elevations during stationary periods of migratory songbirds. We tracked one individual of red-backed shrike and one great reed warbler along their autumn migration from Europe to Africa. Both individuals performed their migration stepwise in travel segments and climbed most metres during the passage across the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert and least metres during the first flight segment in Europe. The great reed warbler reached its highest flight... (More)

Recent advances in tracking technology are based on the use of miniature sensors for recording new aspects of individual migratory behaviour. In this study, we have used activity data loggers with barometric and temperature sensors to record the flight altitudes as well as ground elevations during stationary periods of migratory songbirds. We tracked one individual of red-backed shrike and one great reed warbler along their autumn migration from Europe to Africa. Both individuals performed their migration stepwise in travel segments and climbed most metres during the passage across the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert and least metres during the first flight segment in Europe. The great reed warbler reached its highest flight altitude of 3950 m a.s.l. during the travel segment from Europe to west Africa, while the red-backed shrike reached 3650 m a.s.l as maximum flight altitude during its travel segment from Sahel to southern Africa. Both individuals used both lowlands and highlands for resting periods along their migrations. Furthermore, temperature decreased with increasing altitude during migratory flights for both individuals, highlighting the potential to determine flight duration from temperature measurements. Finally, we discuss how barometric data could be used to investigate birds’ responses to changes in air pressure as a cue for departures on migratory flights. This new technique, i.e. using a miniature data logger with barometric pressure sensor to estimate flight altitudes and ground elevations, will open up new avenues for research and importantly advance our understanding on how small birds behave during migratory flights.

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author
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
bird migration, flight altitude, songbirds
in
Journal of Avian Biology
volume
49
issue
9
article number
e01821
pages
9 pages
publisher
Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85054162894
ISSN
0908-8857
DOI
10.1111/jav.01821
project
Centre for Animal Movement Research
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
187292b8-6a63-44cf-9f3a-0aabcc3fe07a
date added to LUP
2018-10-10 18:32:31
date last changed
2021-10-06 02:09:30
@article{187292b8-6a63-44cf-9f3a-0aabcc3fe07a,
  abstract     = {<p>Recent advances in tracking technology are based on the use of miniature sensors for recording new aspects of individual migratory behaviour. In this study, we have used activity data loggers with barometric and temperature sensors to record the flight altitudes as well as ground elevations during stationary periods of migratory songbirds. We tracked one individual of red-backed shrike and one great reed warbler along their autumn migration from Europe to Africa. Both individuals performed their migration stepwise in travel segments and climbed most metres during the passage across the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert and least metres during the first flight segment in Europe. The great reed warbler reached its highest flight altitude of 3950 m a.s.l. during the travel segment from Europe to west Africa, while the red-backed shrike reached 3650 m a.s.l as maximum flight altitude during its travel segment from Sahel to southern Africa. Both individuals used both lowlands and highlands for resting periods along their migrations. Furthermore, temperature decreased with increasing altitude during migratory flights for both individuals, highlighting the potential to determine flight duration from temperature measurements. Finally, we discuss how barometric data could be used to investigate birds’ responses to changes in air pressure as a cue for departures on migratory flights. This new technique, i.e. using a miniature data logger with barometric pressure sensor to estimate flight altitudes and ground elevations, will open up new avenues for research and importantly advance our understanding on how small birds behave during migratory flights.</p>},
  author       = {Sjöberg, Sissel and Pedersen, Lykke and Malmiga, Gintaras and Alerstam, Thomas and Hansson, Bengt and Hasselquist, Dennis and Thorup, Kasper and Tøttrup, Anders P. and Andersson, Arne and Bäckman, Johan},
  issn         = {0908-8857},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {9},
  publisher    = {Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Avian Biology},
  title        = {Barometer logging reveals new dimensions of individual songbird migration},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.01821},
  doi          = {10.1111/jav.01821},
  volume       = {49},
  year         = {2018},
}