Fuelling decisions in migratory birds: geomagnetic cues override the seasonal effect.
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, Vol. 274, no 1622, 2145-2151 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Recent evaluations of both temporal and spatial precision in bird migration have called for external cues in addition to the inherited programme defining the migratory journey in terms of direction, distance and fuelling behaviour along the route. We used juvenile European robins (Erithacus rubecula) to study whether geomagnetic cues affect fuel deposition in a medium-distance migrant by simulating a migratory journey from southeast Sweden to the wintering area in southern Spain. In the late phase of the onset of autumn migration, robins exposed to the magnetic treatment attained a lower fuel load than control birds exposed to the ambient magnetic field of southeast Sweden. In contrast, robins captured in the early phase of the onset of autumn migration all showed low fuel deposition irrespective of experimental treatment. These results are, as expected, the inverse of what we have found in similar studies in a long-distance migrant, the thrush nightingale (Luscinia luscinia), indicating that the reaction in terms of fuelling behaviour to a simulated southward migration varies depending on the relevance for the species. Furthermore, we suggest that information from the geomagnetic field act as an important external cue overriding the seasonal effect on fuelling behaviour in migratory birds.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 274, no 1622, 2145-2151 p.
magnetic cues, bird migration, fuelling decisions, magnetic cues, endogenous time programme
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18096DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.0554ISI: 000248809600011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-18096DiVA: diva2:184618