Male parents lead a young bird on the first move

Credit: AIXabay / CC0 public domain

GPS tracking of terns in the Caspian Sea showed that male parents have the primary responsibility to guide young people during their first trip from the Baltic Sea to Africa.

Migratory birds have fascinated the human heart for thousands of years. How do these creatures learn to find a way to a distant wintering ground?In a new study published in Nature CommunicationsA team of researchers from Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom used a GPS device to track the entire bird family.

Patrick Byholm, lead author at the University of Helsinki, said:

It is well known that many birds move in groups, but previously, limited information was available on how individuals traveling with them actually interacted during the trip.Use caspian terns — waterfowl that normally eat fish Small group— As a research system, researchers have discovered the following: Adult male It is primarily responsible for teaching young people the secrets of migration. In some cases foster parents have adopted the role, but leadership behavior is usually the responsibility of the biological father.

“This is a very attractive behavior and I didn’t expect to actually find it when setting up the study,” says Byholm.


Examples of travel routes for three Caspian tern groups in the fall of 2017-2019. credit: Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-29300-w

Learning the right route is important for survival

A careful analysis of migratory bird movements Young individual Always near the adult bird Hina The person who lost contact with his parents died. This shows that it is of utmost importance for young people to travel with experienced adults in order to survive the first migration, at least in the Caspian terns.

The question remains unclear why men, rather than women, are primarily engaged in guiding their youth on their first southward move.Importantly, this study also shows that they return to them during their first solo transition. Breeding groundThe young tern used the same travel route as his father on his first south journey.

“This shows that in the Caspian terns, knowledge of migration is passed down from generation to generation through culture, which is done by individuals years after they first migrated with their father. It influences the decision, “commented Susanne Orchestra, co-author of Lund University in Sweden. ..

These findings are based on caspian terns and other Migratory bird It can survive in the face of global climate change and widespread habitat loss. Their future depends on how effectively knowledge of successful travel routes and stopover locations is passed from generation to generation.

Amazing insights into the world’s most mobile species

For more information:
Patrik Byholm et al, Paternal transmission of migration knowledge in long-distance bird migrants, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-29300-w

Quote: Like a father, like a child: Male parents lead young birds in the first transition (March 25, 2022). html

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Male parents lead a young bird on the first move

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