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 Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>