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Blackbirds switch abruptly to fly-by-night behaviour at migration time


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Each year, billions of songbirds set out on autumn evenings to fly to their wintering grounds, necessitating a change of daily rhythm for the usually diurnal animals. Scientists had always assumed that the birds gradually adjusted their rhythm, but new technology has now enabled researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell, with international partners, to observe free-living blackbirds at the onset of migration. They discovered that the birds change abruptly from diurnal to nocturnal activity immediately before departure.


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