Date: 8/31/19 1:09 pm
From: Larry Nooden <ldnum...>
Subject: [birders] Microtracker maps a rare bird's migration (Kirtland's warblers)
(2017). "Microtracker maps a rare bird's migration (Kirtland's warblers)."
Science 355(6329): 998-999.

The Kirtland's warbler travels thousands of kilometers in about 2 weeks.
"Fifty years ago, fewer than 400 Kirtland's warblers were left in their
summer habitat in upper Michigan. The species, Setophaga kirtlandii, became
one of the first beneficiaries of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Forest
managers planted more jack pines—which the songbird needs for its summer
nests—and the population of the species increased 10-fold. But even so,
only about 40% of the birds survive the annual migration to the Bahamas and
back. Researchers wanted to learn more about their round-trip route, so
they outfitted 50 warblers with tiny geolocators weighing just 0.5 grams.
Every 2 minutes, the geolocators record the intensity of light, a measure
of sunrise and sunset that can be used to calculate latitude and longitude.
In the fall, the team learned, the warblers headed east over Ontario to the
Atlantic coast, then south to the Bahamas. For the spring leg, the warblers
flew west and made a stop in Florida before turning north toward Michigan,
the team reported last week in the Journal of Avian Biology. Each way, they
travel about 4500 kilometers in about 16 days. Knowing the locations of
those stopovers, the researchers note, is a starting point for improving
the bird's protection."

More about the use of this tool:

GAP has delineated species range and predicted distribution maps for more
than 2,000 species that occur within the continental US as well as Alaska,
Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Our goal is to build species range maps and
distribution models with the best available data for assessing conservation
status, conservation planning, and research.

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