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New Research Reveals Birds Explore the Landscape during Stopovers

Scientists at Bird Studies Canada (BSC) recently published a seminal paper in the open-access journal PLoS ONE entitled Landscape Movements of Migratory Birds and Bats Reveal an Expanded Scale of Stopover.

The spatial scale of movements made by nocturnal migrants during stopover was assessed using a sophisticated radio-telemetry system and manual searches throughout an area approximately 20 by 40 kilometres. The movements of 322 individuals of seven species (5 passerines, 1 owl, and 1 bat) were tracked during spring and fall migration at Long Point, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie. The researchers found that many individuals, of all species, embark on nocturnal flights to new stopover sites as far as 30 km from their original capture site.

The researchers make the point that conservation planning for migratory birds on stopover must consider the broad spatial landscapes in which birds interact.

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