Bird backpacks highlight wood thrush migration

George C By George C, 30th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/_l49a4_0/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Birds

Conservationists around the globe are puzzled by the disappearance of migratory songbirds. The development has triggered widespread investigations into possible causes of the worrying trend.

Bird backpacks highlight wood thrush migration

Conservationists around the globe are puzzled by the disappearance of migratory songbirds. The development has triggered widespread investigations into possible causes of the worrying trend. Several sources cite loss of habitat, climate change, light pollution and acid rain as key factors in the inquest. Conservationists are diligently examining the species' migratory habitats in a bid to collect flight data.

They are keen on understanding their movements from the moment they leave breeding sites. The academics believe the birds are faced with threats along their traditional migratory routes. A team of researchers from the York University has compiled a pioneering migratory connectivity map detailing movements of wood thrushes. The researchers employed tracking devices to connect the dots between breeding and winter sites.

The geolocator gadgets known as backpacks comprise a light sensor, chip, clock and a battery. Researchers identified a 4,000 kilometers or 2,480 miles path stretching between North America and Central and South America. However, conservationists face data collection challenges because the devices are incapable of transmitting data. This means manual device retrieval is required at the breeding and winter sites.

The team tracked more than 100 birds emanating from seven breeding and four winter sites. They learned that wood thrushes from Canada migrate to dissimilar sites when compared to those from the United States. The tracking revealed the fact that tracking routes are predicted by longitude since songbirds breeding east and north migrate to east and south in the winter.

Data gathered shows patterns of behavior needed by researchers to identify areas of activity. Almost three-quarters of wood thrushes fly across the Gulf of Mexico from the furthest point on the Yucatan peninsula to end up in the northern gulf coast, Louisiana. The data collected will enable conservationists to instigate habitat protection projects around the key breeding and winter sites.

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