Nomadic birds depart with moderate—but not large—fuel stores

Joely G. DeSimone, Beverly S. Domschot, Megan A. Fylling, William M. Blake, Creagh W. Breuner This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here.               Migration is a common animal behavior, allowing animals to track food sources that vary across time and space. Many birds migrate seasonally—breeding in the north and spending the non-breeding season to the … Continue reading Nomadic birds depart with moderate—but not large—fuel stores

Reduced lean mass and delays in resuming bird migration

Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez, Michael S. Griego, Joely G. DeSimone, Cory R. Elowe, Alexander R. Gerson This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Every spring, billions of birds depart their non-breeding grounds in Central and South America and fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico to return to their breeding grounds in North America. After such … Continue reading Reduced lean mass and delays in resuming bird migration

Immune function and songbird migration

Vera Brust, Cas Eikenaar, Florian Packmor, Heiko Schmaljohann, Ommo Hüppop, Gábor Á. Czirják This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Many species of songbirds breeding in northern Europe escape the cold times of the year, when food is scarce, and travel south. The small birds undertake journeys of several hundreds to thousands of kilometers twice … Continue reading Immune function and songbird migration

A hidden cost of climate change? Cold weather increases the sensitivity of birds to future challenges

Maren N. Vitousek, Jennifer L. Houtz, Monique A. Pipkin, David A. Chang van Oordt, Kelly K. Hallinger, Jennifer J. Uehling, Cedric Zimmer, Conor C. Taff This a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Despite the rise in global temperatures, some populations and species have also begun to experience more frequent or more extreme cold weather. This can … Continue reading A hidden cost of climate change? Cold weather increases the sensitivity of birds to future challenges

Reduced food availability and predictability promote competition and decrease social cohesion

Patrícia Beltrão, Ana Cristina R. Gomes, Gonçalo C. Cardoso This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Searching for food in groups allows the sharing of information on food locations between individuals, which is most beneficial when those locations are scarce or unpredictable. Therefore, animals might choose to explore food sources in groups during challenging or changing … Continue reading Reduced food availability and predictability promote competition and decrease social cohesion

A new approach to investigate wild animal energy budgets

Ruth Dunn, Jonathan Green, Sarah Wanless, Mike Harris, Mark Newell, Maria Bogdanova, Francis Daunt, Cat Horswill, Jason Matthiopoulos This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Wild animals must acquire enough energy from their food to avoid burning through their fat reserves, losing weight, and potentially dying. Although studying how much animals eat and how much they … Continue reading A new approach to investigate wild animal energy budgets

How to measure energy expenditure in wild birds: comparing heart rate, acceleration and time-budget methods

J. Morgan Brown, Willem Bouten, Kees C. J. Camphuysen, Bart A. Nolet, Judy Shamoun-Baranes This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Animals have to work hard to obtain food for energy, meaning they should limit the energy they use where possible. This makes energy a useful metric for ecologists to measure to compare the efficiency of … Continue reading How to measure energy expenditure in wild birds: comparing heart rate, acceleration and time-budget methods

Flight of snow buntings during winter at Rimouski (Québec). Photo credit : Audrey Le Pogam

An Arctic breeding passerine takes advantage of winter phenotypic adjustments to migrate in the cold

Le Pogam, Audrey; O’Connor, Ryan; Love, Oliver; Petit, Magali; Régimbald, Lyette; Vézina, François conditions by increasing their fat store and the mass of their flight muscles. These changes can increase their cold endurance through the production of more heat via shivering. However, birds also increase their fat stores and flight muscle size to provide fuel and  muscle force for long migratory flights. Given the similar … Continue reading An Arctic breeding passerine takes advantage of winter phenotypic adjustments to migrate in the cold