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Arizaga J.,Aranzadi science Society | Crespo A.,Aranzadi science Society | Telletxea I.,Club de Cazadores de Becada | Ibanez R.,Club de Cazadores de Becada | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2014

The development of increasingly small devices for the satellite tracking of small birds allows us to explore aspects of avian migration that have never been studied before. Here, we provide the results of using 12- and 9.5-g platform transmitter terminals (PTTs) to track game birds of 300-385 g. Attaching PTTs to 20 Woodcocks (Scolopax rusticola), wintering in Spain from 2006 to 2012, allowed us to explore (1) migration strategies (timing, velocity and stopovers), (2) the identity of the breeding grounds; (3) inter-year site fidelity to wintering grounds. We provide details of the route, speed and timing of migration and the location of remote breeding sites that were unknown prior to this study. The departure from winter quarters (median date) was completed by 20 March. The spring migration period lasted 40 days, and our birds were found to travel from >5,000 to >10,000 km, with a mean total migratory speed (i.e., including stopovers) of 170 km/day. Woodcocks followed fairly direct routes of migration. Stopover duration tended to be shortened when birds were closer to their breeding areas, which were located further east than previously stated. The only bird that provided long-term data (>1 year) was observed to return to the same wintering area, suggesting high winter site fidelity. The use of small PTTs opens new research lines related to the study and management of small to medium-sized migratory birds. © 2014, Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. Source

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