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Gap-crossing by Wood Thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina) in a fragmented landscape

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We used radio-telemetry to study the movement patterns of Wood Thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina (J.F. Gmelin, 1789)) occupying small forest fragments (<5 ha) to examine gap-crossing between fragments and edge use within fragments. We found that 82% (8/11) of males and 33% (2/6) of females made at least one foray off of its resident forest fragment and we documented a total of 26 off-fragment forays (n = 79 h tracking). Males spent, on average, 23.5% of their time off their fragment, while females were gone 12.8% of the time tracked. Most forays were >150 m in distance and foray rate to adjacent fragments declined with increasing gap width. Males on fragments spent more time off their territory (23.5%) and traveled farther (392 m) than males occupying territories within a continuous forest (4.8% and 99 m, respectively). In fragments, 10 out of 17 individuals spent >80% of their time within 20 m of the fragment edge and edge use was significantly more than expected based on the amount of edge available in each fragment. This study adds to the growing evidence for migratory songbirds that during the breeding season, forest fragmentation may increase rather than impede daily movements.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-11-26

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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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