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Katarzyna Rosińska

Biometrics and Morphology Variation within Sex-Age Groups of Robins (Erithacus rubecula) Migrating through the Polish Baltic Coast

Biometrical and morphological differentiation in sex-age groups of Robins migrating through the Polish Baltic coast was studied. Altogether 446 dead birds were collected in 1963-2004 during spring or autumn migration. Dead Robins were measured (wing and tail lengths and wing formula) and additionally in 2002-2004 leg colour and amount of grey colour on head and flanks were determined. After the measurements were taken, individuals were sexed by dissection.

Birds were divided in four sex-age classes: immature females, immature males, adult females and adult males. Wing length, tail length, index of asymmetry (E') and pointedness (L) were compared among this classes using t-test. G-test was used to compare leg colour and greyness on head and flanks between the sexes for immature Robins. With a method of correlative topography charts showing combination of two parameters - wing and tail lengths - in different sex-groups of immatures were prepared.

Obtained results indicate that sexes differ in wing and tail length and greyness on head and flanks. Males have longer wings and tails and bigger amount of greyness than females. The overlap of females and males is rather large, i.e. in the case of wing length 69-75 mm in immature and 71-74 mm in adult birds and in the case of tail length 55-67 mm in immature and 57-64 mm in adult birds. High probability of sex determination according to wing or tail length is found only in extremes. Combination of these two features only slightly increases possibility of sex determination.

The Robin is a monomorphic species, therefore biometrical differences between males and females could be helpful in sexing. In some studies Robins were sexed according to criteria proposed by J. Pettersson referring to wing length, but only 29% of birds analysed here could be sexed when applying this criterion. These differences may result from varying composition of populations coming from different breeding areas. According to the charts presenting correlation between wing and tail length, three "biometrical" groups are distinguishable in both sexes.

Open access

Katarzyna Rosińska and Karolina Adamska

Biometrics Variation and Directional Preferences of Immature Robins (Erithacus rubecula) Caught in Northern Italy during Autumn Migration in 2005

Inter-seasonal changes of biometry and preferred migration directions of Robins were studied according to data collected during autumn migration in northern Italy at the Arosio Bird Observatory (45°43'N, 9°12'E). Altogether 598 immature Robins were caught and 187 orientation tests were performed. Wing, tail and tarsus length, wing shape and weight were analysed in subsequent five migration waves distinguished according to migration dynamics. General pattern of migration as well as graphs with distribution of preferred directions in subsequent waves were prepared. In the case of tail length and weight their average values in subsequent waves were significantly different. Decrease of wing length was noted along the season. On the contrary, increasing trend was observed in the case of tail length and wing shape. Results of orientation tests showed that SSE direction was predominant (34%). SW direction was not clearly marked and its percentage was 23%. Distribution of directions slightly changed in subsequent migration waves. Noted results suggest passage of Robins heading to the Mediterranean basin and Apennine winter quarters. Obtained inter-seasonal changes of biometry and preferred directions can be an effect of differences in migration time between this groups or gradual inflow of more northern populations what the authors discuss here.

Open access

Karolina Adamska and Katarzyna Rosińska

Directional Preferences of the Robin (Erithacus rubecula) and the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) During Autumn Migration at Arosio (N Italy) in 2005

Results of orientation tests of nocturnal migrants with the use of Busse's cage (Busse 1995, Busse 2000) are described in this paper. That method enables to study directional behaviour of nocturnal migrants during daytime. The aim of these studies is the description of directional preferences of the Robin and the Blackcap at the ringing station Arosio, northern Italy. Totally, 220 orientation tests for the Robin and 77 for the Blackcap were performed. Tested species have shown differentiation of directional preferences. Distribution of directions for the Robin is very clear. One direction was preferred - SSE direction (34%). For the Blackcap the distribution of headings was more complex, but two main directions could be distinguished - SSW (23%) and WSW (22%). Migration patterns of both these species in Europe are complicated. Birds migrating through northern Italy should be regarded as different migrating populations (Remisiewicz 2002, Mokwa 2004). However, migration pattern of the Robin was strongly determinated in one SSE direction, which indicates the Apennine Peninsula. Blackcap followed two directions, which indicate western winter quarters. Obtained results stood in accordance with other data, such as recoveries. Although the obtained results seem to be very interesting and promising, only intensive studies, especially in areas indicated by tested birds, could give information about migration pattern of these species.

Open access

Grzegorz Zaniewicz and Katarzyna Rosiñska


The Wicie ringing station was one of several stations which cooperate within the SEEN organization (SE European Bird Migration Network). The station was located west of the small village of Wicie located in northern Poland on the central part of the Baltic Sea coast. The station was situated on a narrow spit between Kopañ Lake and the Baltic Sea and has operated since 2010. Data were collected during three spring and five autumn seasons. Birds were caught in mist-nets, which were placed mainly in bushes and reed beds. Over 55 000 birds of 113 species were caught and ringed during eight migratory seasons. Many of them were also tested for directional preferences in Busse’s cages.

Open access

Małgorzata Ginter, Katarzyna Rosińska and Magdalena Remisiewicz

Variation in the Extent of Greater Wing Coverts Moult in Robins (Erithacus rubecula) Migranting in Autumn Through the Polish Baltic Coast

Intra-seasonal variation in the number of unmoulted coverts in immature Robins caught during 2001-2003 autumn migrations was studied at two ringing stations (Mierzeja Wiślana and Bukowo-Kopań) located at the Polish Baltic coast. To determine the number of unmoulted greater wing coverts we counted immature-type coverts with light spots at tips. In the analyses data on the number of spotted coverts from ca 11 000 migrating individuals were used. We analysed the number of spotted coverts in each season and at each ringing station separately. Based on migration dynamics we distinguished migration waves and the number of spotted coverts were compared among the waves. Trends of seasonal changes in mean values of this parameter were assessed. To explain these tendencies, percentage distributions of wing spots for each wave were presented, with distinguished three categories: 0-3 (low), 4-5 (medium) and 6-8 (high) number of spotted coverts. Next, we compared distribution of this parameter among waves by Kruskal-Wallis and post-hoc Dunn's tests.

Late waves generally differed in the distributions of spotted coverts' number from the earlier ones in all seasons and at all stations. Our results showed the same tendencies within a season in all cases: the mean number of unmoulted coverts fluctuated in September, but starting from the end of this month and in October the trend was clearly increasing. This was due to changes in frequencies of Robins assigned to the distinguished categories - in September birds with medium number of spotted coverts constituted over 50% of all migrants, while in late September and/or October waves individuals with high number of spotted coverts predominated. Both in 2002 and 2003, the moment of the shift in this domination from birds with medium to those with high number of unmoulted coverts was synchronised between the two stations.

These intra-seasonal differences in moult advancement can be explained by two overlapping phenomena - subsequent migration over the Baltic coast of populations with different moult characteristics and by less advanced moult of birds from later broods. Correspondence of the observed trends in moult advancement with literature data on migration timing of Robins of different breeding origin and winter quarters indicates that the populational differences play an important role in the observed variation.

Open access

Łukasz Meina, Małgorzata Ginter and Katarzyna Rosińska

Stopover of Robins (Erithacus rubecula) On Autumn Migration Through the Polish Baltic Coast

Data were collected during autumn migration at three ringing stations of the Operation Baltic: Bukowo-Kopań, Mierzeja Wiślana and Hel. Apart from different localization at the Polish Baltic coast, these places differ also in topography and habitat. Only data from years with the highest number of caught birds were used in the analyses, thus altogether the data on more than 25 500 ringed Robins and 1700 retraps were included. Based on migration dynamics graphs and number of retraps, a stopover index was calculated. Next, the index values were compared between days with a high and low number of caught birds and also between different fat categories. Differences between birds caught once and retraps were shown in relation to daily activity, age structure and fat level. Additionally changes in weight and fat level between first and last control in retraps were considered. At Mierzeja Wiślana and Hel the stopover index decreased in the course of autumn season in contrast to Bukowo-Kopań where an increasing trend was observed. At Bukowo-Kopań more birds decided to stopover than at Mierzeja Wiślana and Hel but at Mierzeja Wiślana Robins stayed longer than at other stations. Moreover, at Mierzeja Wiślana a half of departing retraps increased in fat level while at the other stations only ca 20% of retraps. Our results showed that in Robins the weak body condition is a decisive factor to stopover after crossing the sea. Differentiation in food resources and competition between individuals had an effect on the stopover index. Stopover duration at different ringing stations can depend on distance which birds cover before landing at the coast.

Open access

Agnieszka Rosińska, Hanna Dorna, Dorota Szopińska, Lidia Irzykowska and Katarzyna Seidler-Łożykowska


Introduction: : Milk thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.) is an important medicinal plant. Achenes of milk thistle contain sylimarin, protecting liver cells against toxic compounds.

Objective: The aim of the research was to find an optimum method of evaluation of milk thistle seed germination.

Methods: Ten seed samples were tested. The seeds were germinated: on top of blotter paper, on top of blotter paper after seed disinfection, between pleated blotter paper, in rolled blotter paper and in sand. Germination at the first and final counts, the percentages of abnormal seedlings and dead seeds were determined. The correlation coefficients between seed germination, evaluated with various methods, and seedling emergence were calculated. Moreover, fungi associated with seeds and diseased seedlings were identified.

Results: The lowest percentage of normal seedlings was observed after germination on the top of blotter. Highly significant positive correlations were noted between seedling emergence and seed germination at the final count evaluated in rolled paper, between pleated paper and in sand. The fungi from genera: Alternaria, Fusarium, Penicillium, Trichoderma, Ulocladium and Verticillium were frequently identified on seeds and seedlings.

Conclusions: Infestation with fungi significantly affected milk thistle seed germination and plant emergence. Germination in rolled blotter paper may be recommended for evaluation of milk thistle seed germination, as the most practical and significantly correlated with seedling emergence.

Open access

Jarosław Nowakowski, Jacek Chruściel, Małgorzata Ginter and Katarzyna Rosińska

Any change in the Methodology of field studies on bird Migration? A comparison of methods used in 1994-2003 and a Quarter Century earlier

The holistic approach to the study of bird migration observed in the past decades and the huge advancement in technology should be seen in the numbers and types of methods used in field studies for this phenomenon. To check this assumption, we compared field methods used in the studies on bird migration published in international journals in 1994-2003 (N = 570 papers) and in 1967-1976 (N = 394 papers). We noted an increase in the mean number of methods per a single paper (from 1.49 in the former of these decades to 1.98 in the latter) and a change in the frequency of each method. In recent years, methods such as satellite telemetry, DNA or isotope proportions analyses have been developed. An increase in the mean number of methods as well as changes of the most frequently used methods were more apparent in journals indexed on the ISI Master Journal List in 2003 than in other current journals, where the methods were often found to be similar to those applied a quarter century earlier, which surprised us.

Open access

Agnieszka Rosińska, Hanna Dorna, Dorota Szopińska and Katarzyna Seidler-Łożykowska


Introduction: Milk thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.) is a medicinal plant belonging to Asteraceae family. Extract from milk thistle achenes (termed in practice as seeds) contains sylimarin, which protects liver cells against inorganic and organic toxic compounds. Objective: The aim of the research was to evaluate the effect of colour grading on the quality of milk thistle seeds. Methods: Seeds were graded manually by colour according to the Royal Horticultural Society Colour Chart, issued in Great Britain. In three samples two fractions of seeds were separated: beige and brown, whereas seeds of the fourth sample were graded into three fractions: yellow, beige and brown. The 1000-seed weight and germination of graded and non-graded seeds were evaluated. Infestation of graded seeds with fungi was assessed. Results: Brown seeds had a higher 1000-seed weight than beige or yellow ones. Germination at the final count of beige seeds did not differ as compared to that of brown seeds or was even better. Milk thistle seeds were infested with numerous fungi, however Alternaria alternata and Ulocladium consortiale predominated. Conclusions: Less mature beige seeds can be used as sowing material because their germination at the final count did not differ as compared to that of fully mature brown seeds or was even better. Infestation of these seeds with some of the fungi was lower than brown seeds.