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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

'Gadding' about Europe: Research paper on movement patterns of the Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Published in December 2013, in the Journal of Avian Biology, a team of researchers from Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, in Germany, have outlined their observations of Gadwall movement across Europe using satellite transmitters and ring / recapture.

Link to Journal
Citation:
Great flexibility in autumn movement patterns of European gadwalls, Anas strepera. 
Journal of Avian Biology 44: 001–009, 2013

Three populations of Gadwall from Russia, Germany, and England were monitored by satellite tracking and ring re-encounter, to observe the extent and location of Autumnal migration (August to October) outwith the large scale breeding / wintering movements. The overall finding was that the movement of the birds was significantly multidirectional, included visits to areas on route to wintering sites, could be variable among individuals, and were affected by the prevailing winds. During this time period it is a necessity for the birds to lay down fat reserves for the Winter and therefore investigation of potential feeding grounds may be a contributing factor towards the multidirectional movements.
The figure below (Figure 2 from the article) shows the multidirectional bird movements obtained from the ringing data, but with clear emphasis towards the south / south-westerly direction of the wintering grounds.





This article is just one example of many reports showing the wealth of data that can be obtained by satellite tracking and ringing records and the importance of understanding the movements of bird populations for research and conservation purposes.

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Authors and Affiliation
  1. Andrea Gehrold, 
  2. Hans-G√ľnther Bauer,
  3. Wolfgang Fiedler, 
  4. Martin Wikelski
A. Gehrold (andrea.gehrold@hotmail.de), H.-G. Bauer, W. Fiedler and M. Wikelski, Dept of Migration and Immuno-ecology, Max Planck Inst. 
for Ornithology, Am Obstberg 1, DE-78315 Radolfzell, Germany, and Dept of Biology, Univ. of Konstanz, DE-78457 Konstanz, Germany.

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