Factors influencing decisions of birds during fall migration in the Gulf of Maine Region
LE3 .A278 2013
Master of Science
Spanning half a century and using a wide variety of methods, migration research in the Gulf of Maine Region has demonstrated effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on avian migration. As a whole, migration research in the region has effectively described broad patterns of migration but has only recently begun to examine finer scale movements and decisions. Using marine radars, I examined effects of weather, time of year, and time of night on migratory decisions of fall songbirds at four locations around the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine. In contrast to weather radar studies in the 1960s and 1970s, there was high variability in headings used by migrants at the locations in this study. Generally, weather was more important in explaining decisions to forward migrate (move in a seasonally appropriate direction) than in explaining routes used by migrating birds. Additionally, larger numbers of migrants were detected with a more westerly heading than in previous studies, which may be a result of the finer resolution of marine radars used in this study or may indicate that shifts in the migratory headings of individuals in this region have occurred in the past three decades.
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