Pre-Migration Roost Site use and Timing of Postnuptial Migration of Red-Footed Falcons (Falco Vespertinus) Revealed by Satellite Tracking

Abstract

Red-footed Falcons are gregarious trans-equatorial migrants, forming up to several thousand strong roost sites after the breeding season and before commencing migration. This pre-migration period is presumed to play a major role in defining the survival of long-range migrants. Here we investigate the autumn movements of 8 individuals caught and satellite-tagged within the Carpathian Basin. We found that birds may use multiple roost sites that can be separated by large distances. A single individual’s home range was 88 km2 (80% kernel home range) and was near concentrical to the roost site. Two individuals travelled to southern Ukraine soon after tag-deployment. Our results demonstrate that even a small number of satellite tagged birds show behavioural plasticity in terms of roost site selection indicating that post-breeding foraging habitat choice decisions may have substantial variability. The night localization points of birds marked out 2 and 5 yet unknown potential roost sites in Hungary and in the Ukraine, respectively. Using the data of an international weekly survey (2006-2011) carried out in the Carpathian Basin, we cross-referenced the departure dates of tagged individuals with the 6 year means of counted individuals. The tagged birds initiated migration with the first 25% percent of the surveyed population.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Ahlering, M. A., Arlt, D., Betts, M. G., Fletcher, Jr., R. J., Nocera, J. J. & Ward, M. P. 2010. Research needs and recommendations for the use of conspecific- attraction methods in the conservation of migratory songbirds. - The Condor 112: 252-264. DOI: 10.1525/cond.2010.090239

  • Alerstam, T. 1990. Bird Migration. - Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 420

  • Berthold, P. 1996. Control of bird migration. - Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 355

  • BirdLife International 2007. Conservationists appalled at Red-footed Falcon massacre. http://www.birdlife. org/news/news/2007/10/cyprus_falcon_massacre. html. Accessed: 01.11.2012.

  • Borbáth, P. & Zalai, T. 2005. Kék vércsék (Falco vespertinus) őszi gyülekezése a Hevesi-síkon [Autumn roost site of Red-footed Falcons in the Heves Plains]. - Aquila 112: 39-44. (in Hungarian with English Summary) Caccamise, D. F., Lyon, L. A. & Fischl, J. 1983. Seasonal patterns in roosting flocks of starlings and Common Grackles. - The Condor 85: 474-481.

  • Calenge, C. 2006. The package ʻadehabitatʼ for the R software: a tool for the analysis of space and habitat use by animals. - Ecological Modelling 197: 516-519. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.03.017

  • Catry, I., Dias, M. P., Catry, T., Afanasyev, V., Fox, J., Franco, A. & Sutherland, W. J. 2011. Individual variation in migratory movements and winter behaviour of Iberian Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni revealed by geolocators. - Ibis 153(1): 154-164. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01073.x

  • Cramp, S. & Simmons, K. E. 1980. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. 2. - Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, pp. 695

  • Danchin, E., Giraldeau, L. A., Valone, T. J. & Wagner, R. H. 2004. Public information: from nosy neighbors to cultural evolution. - Science 305: 487-491. DOI: 10.1126/science.1098254 de Frutos, A. 2008. Importance of the premigratory areas for the conservation of Lesser Kestrel: space use and habitat selection during the post-fledging period. - Animal Conservation 11: 224-233. DOI: 10.1111/j. 1469-1795.2008.00173.x de Frutos, A., Olea, P. P. & Vera, R. 2007. Analyzing and modelling spatial distribution of summering Lesser Kestrel: The role of spatial autocorrelation. - Ecological Modelling 200: 33-44. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel. 2006.07.007

  • Donázar, J. A., Negro, J. J., Hiraldo, F. & Hiraldo, F. 1993. Foraging habitat selection, land-use changes and population decline in the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni. - Journal of Applied Ecology 30: 515-522.

  • Eiserer, L. A. 1984. Communal roosting in birds. - Bird Behaviour 2: 61-80.

  • Fehérvári, P., Solt, Sz., Palatitz, P., Barna, K., Ágoston, A., Gergely, J., Nagy, A., Nagy, K. & Harnos, A. 2012. Allocating active conservation measures using species distribution models: a case study of Red-footed Falcon breeding site management in the Carpathian Basin. - Animal Conservation 15(6): 648-657. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00559.x

  • Fehérvári, P., Harnos, A., Neidert, D., Solt, Sz. & Palatitz, P. 2009. Modeling habitat selection of the Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus): A possible explanation of recent changes in breeding range within Hungary. - Applied Ecology and Environment 7: 59-69.

  • Fehérvári, P., Neidert, D., Solt, Sz., Kotymán, L., Szövényi, G., Soltész, Z. & Palatitz, P. 2007. Kék vércse élőhelypreferencia vizsgálat - egy tesztév eredményei [Red-footed Falcon Habitat Preference Analysis - results of a test year]. - Heliaca 3: 51-59. (in Hungarian with English Summary) Ferguson-Lees, J. & Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the World. - Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, USA, pp. 992

  • Forsman, D. 1999. The raptors of Europe and the Middle East: a handbook of field identification. - T & AD Poyser, London Franco, A. M. A., Catry, I., Sutherland, W. J. & Palmeirim, J. M. 2004. Do different habitat preference survey methods produce the same conservation recommendations for Lesser Kestrels? - Animal Conservation 7: 291-300. DOI: 10.1017/ S1367943004001465

  • Gschweng, M., Kalko, E. K. V., Querner, U., Fiedler, W. & Berthold, P. 2008. All across Africa: highly individual migration routes of Eleonora’s Falcon. - Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B: 275: 2887-2896. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0575

  • Haraszthy, L. & Palatitz, P. 2009. Kék vércse [Red-footed Falcon]. - In: Csörgő, T., Karcza, Zs., Halmos, G., Magyar, G., Gyurácz, J., Szép, T., Bankovics, A., Schmidt, A. & Schmidt, E. (eds.) 2009. Magyar madárvonulási atlasz [Hungarian Atlas of Bird Migration]. - Kossuth Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 242-243. (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Horváth, L. 1956. The life of the Red-legged Falcon (Falco vespertinus) in the Ohat Forest. - Acta XI. Congressus Internationalis Ornithologici, Basel 1954: 583-584.

  • Kenward, R. 2001. A manual for wildlife radio tagging. -2nd Edition, Academic Press, London, pp. 350

  • Kostenko, M. 2009. Inventory of the breeding population of Red-footed Falcons in Ukraine: Spring-Sum- mer 2009. Project Report, Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds, Kiev (unpublished report, in English) Kruckenberg, H. & Borbach-Jaene, J. 2004. Do Greylag Geese (Anser anser) use traditional roosts? Site fidelity of colour-marked Nordic Greylag Geese during spring migration. - Journal of Ornithology 145: 117-122. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-004-0021-1

  • Lambertucci, S. A., Luis Jácome, N. & Trejo, A. 2008. Use of communal roosts by Andean Condors in northwest Patagonia, Argentina. - Journal of Field Ornithology 79: 138-146. DOI: 10.1111/j.1557-926 3.2008.00155.x

  • López-López, P., Limiñana, R. & Urios, V. 2009. Autumn migration of Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae tracked by satellite telemetry. - Zoological Studies 48: 485-491.

  • Metcalfe, N. B. & Furness, R. W. 1984. Changing priorities: the effect of pre-migratory fattening on the trade-off between foraging and vigilance. - Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 15: 203-206. DOI: 10.1007/BF00292976

  • Mitchell, G. W., Taylor, P. D. & Warkentin, I. G. 2010. Assessing the function of broad-scale movements made by juvenile songbirds prior to migration. - The Condor 112: 644-654. DOI: 10.1525/ cond.2010.090136

  • Morton, M. L. 1992. Effects of sex and birth date on premigration biology, migration schedules, return rates and natal dispersal in the Mountain White-crowned Sparrow. - The Condor 94: 117-133.

  • Newton, I. 1998. Population limitation in birds. - Academic Press, London, pp. 597

  • Pagen, R. W., Thompson III, F. R. & Burhans, D. E. 2000. Breeding and post-breeding habitat use by forest migrant songbirds in the Missouri Ozarks. - The Condor 102: 738-747. DOI: 10.1650/ 0010-5422(2000)102[0738:BAPBHU]2.0.CO;2

  • Palatitz, P., Fehérvári, P., Solt, S. & Boris, B. 2009. European Species Action Plan for the Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus Linnaeus, 1766. - European Comission Palatitz, P., Fehérvári, P., Solt, S., Kotymán, L., Neidert, D. & Harnos, A. 2011. Exploratory analyses of foraging habitat selection of the Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus). - Acta Zoologica Hungariae 57: 255-268.

  • Palatitz, P., Solt, S., Fehérvári, P., Ezer, Á. & Bánfi, P. 2010. Az MME Kékvércse-védelmi Munkacsoport 2008. évi beszámolója - A LIFE projekt (2006-2009) főbb eredményei [Annual report of MME/ BirdLife Hungary’s Red-footed Falcon Working Group - the major results of the project LIFE (2006-2009)]. - Heliaca 5: 12-17. (in Hungarian with English Summary) Quantum GIS Development Team, G. I. S. 2011. Quantum GIS Geographic Information System. - Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project. Source: http://qgis.osgeo.org.

  • R Development Core Team. 2011. R: A Language and Envrionment for Statistical Computing. - R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Source: http://www.R-project.org.

  • Rivera, J. H., McShea, W. J., Rappole, J. H. & Haas, C. A. 1999. Postbreeding movements and habitat use of adult Wood Thrushes in northern Virginia. - The Auk 116(2): 458-466.

  • Rivera, J. H., Rappole, J. H., McShea, W. J. & Haas, C. A. 1998. Wood Thrush postfledging movements and habitat use in northern Virginia. - The Condor 100: 69-78.

  • Seaman, D. E., Millspaugh, J. J., Kernohan, B. J., Brundige, G. C., Raedeke, K. J. & Gitzen, R. A. 1999. Effects of sample size on kernel home range estimates. - Journal of Wildlife Management 63(2): 739-747.

  • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Van Loon, E., Alon, D., Alpert, P., Yom-Tov, Y. & Leshem, Y. 2006. Is there a connection between weather at departure sites, onset of migration and timing of soaring-bird autumn migration in Israel? - Global Ecology and Biogeography 15: 541-552. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2006.00261.x

  • Shirihai, H., Yosef, R., Alon, D. & Kirwan, G. M. 2000.

  • Raptor migration in Israel and the Middle East: a summary of 30 years of field research. - International Birding & Research Center in Eilat Steenhof, K., Bates, K. K., Fuller, M. R., Kochert, M.

  • N., McKinley, J. O. & Lukacs, P. M. 2006. Effects of radiomarking on Prairie Falcons: attachment failures provide insights about survival. - Wildlife Sociobiology B 34: 116-126. DOI: 10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[116:EOROPF]2.0.CO;2

  • Strandberg, R., Klaassen, R. H. G., Hake, M., Olofsson, P. & Alerstam, T. 2009. Converging migration routes of Eurasian Hobbies Falco subbuteo crossing the African equatorial rain forest. - Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B: 276: 727-733. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1202

  • Tella, J. L., Forero, M. G., Hiraldo, F. & Donazar, J. A. 1998. Conflicts between Lesser Kestrel conservation and European agricultural policies as identified by habitat use analyses. - Conservation Biology 12: 593-604. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.1998.96288.x

  • Weatherhead, P. J. 1983. Two principal strategies in avian communal roosts. - American Naturalist 121(2): 237-243.

  • Worton, B. J. 1989. Kernel methods for estimating the utilization distribution in home-range studies. - Ecology 70: 164-168. DOI: 10.2307/1938423

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search