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How do migrating birds avoid predators while fueling up?


PhysOrg

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Birds stopping for a break during their grueling migratory flights face a difficult tradeoff: They need to fuel up with food as efficiently as possible, but they need to avoid predators while they do it. To learn more about how they make these choices about food availability and predator risk, Jennifer McCabe and Brian Olsen of the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute spent two years capturing birds during fall migration along the coast of Maine. Their results, published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, show that overall birds prefer to stop in habitat with plenty of dense vegetation in which they can hide from predators such as hawks. However, the longer the migration a bird is facing, the more likely it is to take risks in order to fill up with high-energy fruit.

 

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