Birds use stopovers during migration to interrupt endurance flight in order to minimize immediate and/or future fitness costs. Stopovers on ships is considered an exceptional and anecdotal event in the ornithological literature. This does not match the experience we had in the summer of 2021, during an oceanographic campaign in the Central Mediterranean, when we regularly observed on average 2.8 birds, of at least 13 species, stopping on board during the 25 days of the campaign. The median stopping time was 42 min, ranging from a few minutes to overnight stays on board. The probability of finding a bird stopping aboard increased with wind force and cloud cover. Birds also stopped more often in a headwind and did not stop when the wind came from different directions other than the headwind. The Central Mediterranean is one of the busiest sea routes in the world, combining the mean daily number of birds on board with the thousands of ships that pass through it during the 3 months of summer migration; we estimate that nearly 4 million birds could use ships as stopover sites. This behaviour may represent a modern-day strategy that uses ships as stopovers in the event of adverse weather conditions or could act as an ecological trap, increasing the mortality of migrants. This phenomenon deserves more research attention and further studies recording body condition and tagging of individuals on board would be informative.

Sara', M., Firmamento, R., Cangemi, G., Pagano, L., Genovese, M., Romeo, T., et al. (2022). Welcome aboard: are birds migrating across the Mediterranean Sea using ships as stopovers during adverse weather conditions?. IBIS, 1-12 [10.1111/ibi.13103].

Welcome aboard: are birds migrating across the Mediterranean Sea using ships as stopovers during adverse weather conditions?

Sara', Maurizio
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2022-07-21

Abstract

Birds use stopovers during migration to interrupt endurance flight in order to minimize immediate and/or future fitness costs. Stopovers on ships is considered an exceptional and anecdotal event in the ornithological literature. This does not match the experience we had in the summer of 2021, during an oceanographic campaign in the Central Mediterranean, when we regularly observed on average 2.8 birds, of at least 13 species, stopping on board during the 25 days of the campaign. The median stopping time was 42 min, ranging from a few minutes to overnight stays on board. The probability of finding a bird stopping aboard increased with wind force and cloud cover. Birds also stopped more often in a headwind and did not stop when the wind came from different directions other than the headwind. The Central Mediterranean is one of the busiest sea routes in the world, combining the mean daily number of birds on board with the thousands of ships that pass through it during the 3 months of summer migration; we estimate that nearly 4 million birds could use ships as stopover sites. This behaviour may represent a modern-day strategy that uses ships as stopovers in the event of adverse weather conditions or could act as an ecological trap, increasing the mortality of migrants. This phenomenon deserves more research attention and further studies recording body condition and tagging of individuals on board would be informative.
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ibi.13103
Sara', M., Firmamento, R., Cangemi, G., Pagano, L., Genovese, M., Romeo, T., et al. (2022). Welcome aboard: are birds migrating across the Mediterranean Sea using ships as stopovers during adverse weather conditions?. IBIS, 1-12 [10.1111/ibi.13103].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/565825
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