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

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!"


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

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