Using GPS tags attached to birds, researchers have discovered the surprising fact that Whipear Wilyoka makes long trips from Midwestern breeding grounds to winter locations in Mexico and Central America.
The results showed that bird From the other side of the Midwest, everything traveled in a similar path, moving and concentrating at about the same time in the fall. population Early October 1st, in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and some small areas of eastern Texas.
This is critical to the poor of the whip, which has already declined by nearly 70% in recent decades, according to Christopher Tonla, co-author and associate professor of bird and wildlife ecology at Ohio State University. It highlights the danger.
“About half of the entire population of Whipure Will Yoka breeds in the Midwest, and our findings show that their southward migration is very synchronized,” he said. rice field.
“This suggests that we need to protect the forested habitats of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and small areas of eastern Texas. This is an important stopover for migration, and birds When traveling through highly urbanized areas of eastern Texas, we need to find ways to protect birds, “he said.
The study, led by Ohio State University graduate student Aaron Skinner, was recently published in a journal. Diversity and distribution..
Whip-A-Wil-Yoka is a mysterious, rarely seen nocturnal bird named after the bark that often rings for hours at a time on summer nights in the forests where they breed (Whip-A-Wil-Yoka). Primarily for this call, Whip Irwill is a common cultural reference in country songs, poems, stories and legends.
“I linked Whip Awill Yoka to a camp in the eastern forest and heard them calling all night,” Tonra said.
“The idea that they disappear is very disturbing and we want to know more about what might be causing their decline.”
Researchers have captured and tagged Whip Awill Yoka in five breeding grounds in four Midwestern states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.
The birds were fitted with archive GPS tags, which required researchers to recapture the birds the following year in order to collect GPS data. (Most whip are will return to the same breeding ground each year.)
Researchers have obtained useful data from 52 of the 115 birds tagged in the summer of 2017 and 2019. This study focuses on autumn migration, as complete data for all 52 birds were only available on a trip to the south.
The findings show that, unlike some other species of birds, poor-willed breeding populations of whips from across the Midwest all share similar migration pathways and migrate at about the same time, Tonla said. Said.
The routes are so similar that at one date in early October of the year of the survey, all GPS-tagged birds were within about 300 miles of each other in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
“These birds began their journey in four different states, from northern Wisconsin to southern Ohio,” said Tonra.
“It’s worth noting that they are all very close to each other on the same day of migration.”
One of the reasons their paths were so similar was that, unlike other species of birds, Whipear Wilyoka avoided jumping over the Gulf of Mexico to reach Mexico and Central America. As a result, birds concentrated in small areas of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as they roamed the Gulf.
This finding demonstrates the importance of forest management efforts in that region of those states, Tonla said.
Another problem is that the route through the four major urban areas of Texas, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, takes many whip-a-wills.
Like many birds, Whip Awill Yoka travels at night and can be confused by the bright light of the city, Tonla said. They are often attracted to light and die in building collisions.
“According to research, Whipear Willyoka has a particularly high risk of skyscraper collisions, so Whipear Willyoka could be a significant source of death, especially in early October,” Tonra said. increase.
He said several cities in the United States have launched “light-out” programs during migration to protect passing birds. Such programs can be particularly useful in Texas.
The findings show that almost all birds from the Midwestern breeding grounds overwintered in the same common areas of southern Mexico and Guatemala.
In contrast, some species of birds that breed in different parts of the United States and Canada also spend winters in different parts of Mexico and Latin America, Tonra said.
These findings influence possible causes of rapid population decline of species.
Tonra says that while the overall population of Whip Irwill is declining, the populations of some breeding grounds in the United States are relatively stable, while others are disappearing or declining. Said.
This fact, coupled with the discovery that almost all birds have overwintered in the same area, suggests that Whipear Wilyoka may face the greatest challenges here in US breeding grounds, Tonla said. Stated.
“If wintering was a big problem, we should see similar population declines in all the different breeding grounds, but that’s not what’s happening,” he said.
One problem could be the decline in insect populations in some breeding grounds. Whip Irwill is a predator and mainly feeds on winged moths.
According to Tonra, researchers are planning a project to capture moths in their current breeding grounds and areas where Whipear Will Yoka has disappeared, and see if moth population declines are having an impact. is doing.
High spatiotemporal overlap during non-breeding seasons, despite the geographically dispersed breeding grounds of Aaron A. Skinner et al, Eastern whip-poor (Antrostomus vociferus). Diversity and distribution (2022). DOI: 10.1111 / ddi.13477
Ohio State University
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Dangerous migratory bird journey in eastern Whip Irwill
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