Navigation Links
York University researchers use bird 'backpacks' to put wood thrushes migration on the map
Date:7/23/2014

TORONTO, July 23, 2014 Migratory songbirds are disappearing, and though conservationists are examining several possible reasons such as climate change, loss of habitat, acid rain and light pollution, a key piece of the puzzle has remained missing: where do these birds go once they leave their breeding sites, and what threats may they be encountering along the way?

To answer this question, a team of researchers out of York University have created the first ever migratory connectivity map produced for a songbird, using tracking from both breeding and winter sites. They were able to trace the 4,000km route taken by wood thrushes from North America down to Central and South America using bird "backpacks", tiny geolocators made up of a battery, clock, light sensor, and chip to record data.

"The most challenging thing about these tiny geolocators is that they do not transmit data," says York U researcher Emily McKinnon. "This means that we put the backpack on the bird, it migrates thousands of kilometres south for the winter, migrates back in spring, and then we have to catch it again to get the data. The culmination of years of this type of tracking, and hours and hours of effort by graduate students, field techs, volunteers, collaborators, and of course our project leader, Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, is detailed migration data from more than 100 wood thrushes tracked from 7 breeding sites and 4 winter sites."

The team discovered that wood thrushes from Canada don't migrate to the same areas as their neighbours in Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas, and in fact, have a longer migratory route than their southern counterparts.

"Overall we call this pattern 'leap-frog' because the birds breeding the farthest north actually migrate the farthest south, 'leap-frogging' over the southern breeding populations," says McKinnon. "The connections also tended to be predicted by longitude, so that birds breeding further east (and north) spent the winter further east (and south). So if you are Canadian visiting the Mexican Maya Riviera on vacation and you see a few wood thrushes odds are they are not 'Canadian' wood thrushes, but probably birds from the southern US."

McKinnon says the map shows where each bird goes, and what route it takes to get there, revealing patterns of behavior that will help researchers pinpoint important areas for specific breeding populations. It also reveals that in spring almost 75 per cent of all wood thrushes cross the Gulf of Mexico from the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to land in a small area of Louisiana on the northern gulf coast. That means almost the entire global population of the bird uses that one small area of land near New Orleans every spring.

McKinnon says the map will be helpful to researchers because they will be able to identify and target specific areas for habitat protection. For example, knowing that Canadian wood thrushes overwinter in Nicaragua means that efforts can be made to promote focused conservation in this region, including shade coffee grown under a forest canopy.

"The truth is, they aren't really Canadian wood thrushes after all," says McKinnon. "They have dual citizenship!"


'/>"/>

Contact: Robin Heron
rheron@yorku.ca
416-736-2100 x22097
York University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
2. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
3. BGI, University of Helsinki and Wuhan University sign a MOU concerning cooperation on genomics
4. Marshall University study may lead to new treatments for prostate cancer
5. University leads £6 million EU project to tackle obesity
6. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
7. Life expectancy may affect when you get married, divorced, have kids: Queens University study
8. University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes
9. University of Minnesota invention helps advance reliability of alternative energy
10. Israel names Tel Aviv Universitys Renewable Energy Center a Center of Research Excellence
11. University of Minnesota startup offers game-changing energy solutions that reduce CO2 emissions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
York University researchers use bird 'backpacks' to put wood thrushes migration on the map
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a ... announced that it has received Laboratory Accreditation from ... Accreditation is presented to laboratories that meet stringent ... demonstrate scientifically rigorous processes. "Genos is ... in laboratory practices. We,re honored to be receiving ...
(Date:2/13/2017)...  RSA Conference -- RSA, a Dell Technologies business, ... enhance fraud detection and investigation across digital environments ... & Risk Intelligence Suite. The new platform is ... from internal and external sources as well as ... from targeted cybercrime attacks. "Fraudsters are ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... DUBLIN , Feb 10, 2017 ... PharmaBiotech,s new report "Personalized Medicine - Scientific and Commercial ... ... in personalized medicine. Diagnosis is integrated with therapy for selection ... emphasis on early detection and prevention of disease in modern ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/28/2017)... and REYKJAVIK, Iceland , Feb. 28, ... group company and the contract genomics organization enabling precision ... Hannes Smarason has been appointed as the company,s chief executive ... and Alex Fowkes have been named chief ... "WuXi NextCODE is executing on its vision to enable anyone ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... 2017  Xencor, Inc. (NASDAQ: XNCR), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical ... of autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergic diseases and ... quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016 ... business and clinical highlights. "During 2016, ... pipeline by starting five clinical trials across our ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... ... February 28, 2017 , ... The ... well as to their processing and transport properties. With the Litesizerâ„¢ 100 ... of samples. The Litesizerâ„¢ 100 gives rapid and accurate insight into particle systems, ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 28, 2017 , ... ... trials, yet requires extensive coordination and expertise. Colpitts Clinical Trial Travel and ... 15 years of meeting this unique need within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries ...
Breaking Biology Technology: