Computer Simulation Of Autumnal Bird Migration Over The Western North Atlantic

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Animal Behaviour


Two hypotheses for the orientation of autumnal migration over the western North Atlantic Ocean, proposed by Williams and Richardson, were tested by simulating the flight of birds from North to South America through calculated wind fields in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Use of a constant compass heading proved to be a tenable strategy for birds departing from the North American coast as far north as Nova Scotia. The range of successful headings, however, became increasingly restricted at northern latitudes. Airspeed, heading, altitude, and point of departure all had major effects on migratory success. Time required for successful non-stop migration was found to lie between 70 and 100 h for passerines and 40 to 60 h for shorebirds.


This work is freely available courtesy of the author.