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Trumpeter swan behaviour at spring-migration stopover areas in southern Alberta

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The use of breeding and wintering areas has been a focus of studies on trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator), but the importance of migration stopover areas has been overlooked. We conducted a behavioural study to assess trumpeter swans' use of spring-migration stopover areas in southern Alberta, Canada. Adult swans foraged for 48% of the day, preened for 12%, rested for 26%, and were involved in locomotion for 14% of the time. Cygnets foraged for 49% of the day, preened for 15%, rested for 19%, and were involved in locomotion for 18% of their time. Temperature had a significant effect on the time budget of trumpeter swans: below –4°C, foraging diminished and sleeping was the dominant activity. The dominant activity of trumpeter swans in spring-migration stopover areas was foraging. We therefore suggest that these stopover areas are important for building the energy reserves required for successful migration and breeding.

L'utilisation des aires de reproduction et des zones d'hivernage par le Cygne trompette (Cygnus buccinator) a fait l'objet de plusieurs études, mais l'importance des aires de repos au cours de la migration n'a jamais été déterminée. Nous avons procédé à une étude comportementale afin d'évaluer l'utilisation des aires de repos par le Cygne trompette pendant sa migration de printemps, dans le sud de l'Alberta, Canada. Les cygnes adultes consacrent 48 % de leur journée à la quête de nourriture, 12 % au toilettage, 26 % au repos et ils sont en mouvement 14 % de leur temps. Les juvéniles cherchent leur nourriture pendant 49 % de leur journée, font du toilettage pendant 15 % et se reposent pendant 19 et 18 % de leur temps passe à la locomotion. La température a une influence considérable sur le bilan des activités; en dessous de –4°C, la quête de nourriture diminue et le sommeil devient la principale activité. L'activité dominante dans les zones de repos pendant la migration est la quête de nourriture. Nous croyons que les aires de repos utilisées au cours de la migration permettent aux cygnes de se faire des réserves énergétiques en vue du succès de la migration et de la reproduction.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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