Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chubby birds get there faster

17.02.2010
Heavy migratory birds take shorter breaks and reach their breeding grounds faster

Small migratory birds, like the garden warbler, must make stopovers on their journeys to their breeding grounds. When they have crossed extensive ecological barriers, such as deserts or oceans, they must land to replenish their fat reserves. A researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and a team of Italian colleagues measured the duration of the stopovers made by garden warblers on an island off the Italian coast. There they observed that fat birds usually move on the night of their arrival, while thin birds interrupt their journey for an average of almost two days (Biology Letters, February 17, 2010).


Garden warbler with sender.
Image: Wolfgang Goymann

While pockets of flab accumulated over the winter months may be a source of frustration for some, it can be a cause of joy for others: "Fat garden warblers can make shorter stops to replenish their fat reserves on the taxing annual journey to their breeding grounds," reports Wolfgang Goymann of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen. The research results have shown that the duration of a bird’s stopover is not only influenced by environmental factors, such as wind and weather conditions, or a genetically-programmed internal urge: subcutaneous fat stores are the main factor behind the varying durations of the stopovers made during avian migration.

The researchers fitted ten fat birds and ten thin birds that landed on the Italian island of Ventotene in the morning on route to the north with temporary adhesive radio transmitters. They then monitored, at regular intervals, whether the signal emitted by the transmitters could still be heard on the island. Nine out of the ten fat birds flew on the same night; the thin birds, however, remained on the island for an average duration of 40 hours before resuming their journey. "We assume that the majority of the birds arrived on the island the morning we caught them," says Wolfgang Goymann. "However, even if this were not the case, our data clearly revealed that fat garden warblers only waited until nightfall on the same day to move on. As opposed to this, the thin birds had to wait until they had accumulated sufficient fat reserves for the next leg of their journey." The data demonstrates the importance of ecologically-intact resting grounds: The birds can only replenish their energy reserves quickly and move on to their breeding grounds swiftly and unfailingly if they can rest in areas with sufficient supplies of insects, nectar and pollen. Those that arrive early at the breeding ground can secure the best nesting sites.

Original work:

Wolfgang Goymann, Fernando Spina, Andrea Ferri and Leonida Fusani
Body fat influences departure from stopover sites in migratory birds: evidence from whole-island telemetry.

Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.1028

Contact:

Dr. Wolfgang Goymann
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen
E-mail: goymann@orn.mpg.de

Barbara Abrell | Max Planck Society
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de/english/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>