As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Bugged backpack for Brazilian birds


1st October 2019

Purple martins will soon begin their yearly winter migration but this time they’ve got a new accessory. The birds will be wearing little backpacks that will track their roosting sites.

As the bird travels north from Brazil, the purple martin roosts in small forested patches on their rout to North America.

“This is highly unusual behavior for songbirds, which typically roost in heavily forested areas,” said Auriel Fournier, a co-author of the study with University of Manitoba biological sciences professor Kevin Fraser, who led the research. Fournier is the director of the Forbes Biological Station at the Illinois Natural History Survey.

“It’s surprising to see them roosting in these forest islands, which are small, isolated clusters of trees typically surrounded by agriculture, water or recently cut forest,” Fournier said.

The research is intended to determine whether the birds are responding to a change in the environment or whether their roosting behaviour has always been this way.

“We believe they must be intentionally seeking out the forest islands,” Fournier said. “Because these habitats don’t occur very frequently on the landscape, the birds’ use of them is unlikely to be by chance.”

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