Water surfaces are natural barriers for raptors mostly using soaring gliding flight over land during migration. Among these, the European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) is a total migrant, breeding in Europe and wintering in central western Africa. Each spring thousands of buzzards undertake long sea crossings between Tunisia and southern Italy, concentrating over small islands en route to central eastern Europe. The aim of this research is to investigate the influence of wind patterns on the flyways used by these raptors during this critical phase of migration through field observations at four small Mediterranean islands (Pantelleria, Marettimo, Ustica and Panarea) and at the Straits of Messina between 20 April and 20 May 2006-2013. In our analyses, peak days were considered for each site. This eight year multisite study allowed the collection of a large data set. While crossing the Channel of Sicily, migrants concentrated over Pantelleria (southern side of the Channel) during moderate NW winds, and over Marettimo (northern side) during weaker southerly winds. Over the island of Ustica (north-western Sicily, Tyrrhenian Sea) raptors were observed mostly with weak southerly winds. Over the island of Panarea (north-eastern Sicily) and at the Straits of Messina, European Honey Buzzards passed with weak winds from W and NW, respectively. The average flock size during the peak days was significantly higher over the island of Pantelleria, where birds migrated during the stronger winds. The results of this study show that wind patterns affect both migration pathways and flocking behaviour of this species while crossing large water surfaces.

Wind patterns affect migration flyways and flock size of a soaring bird over sea / Agostini, Nicolantonio; Gustin, Marco; von Hardenberg, Jost; Panuccio, Michele. - In: AVIAN BIOLOGY RESEARCH. - ISSN 1758-1559. - 9:3(2016), pp. 159-166. [10.3184/175815516X14627928448105]

Wind patterns affect migration flyways and flock size of a soaring bird over sea

von Hardenberg, Jost;
2016

Abstract

Water surfaces are natural barriers for raptors mostly using soaring gliding flight over land during migration. Among these, the European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) is a total migrant, breeding in Europe and wintering in central western Africa. Each spring thousands of buzzards undertake long sea crossings between Tunisia and southern Italy, concentrating over small islands en route to central eastern Europe. The aim of this research is to investigate the influence of wind patterns on the flyways used by these raptors during this critical phase of migration through field observations at four small Mediterranean islands (Pantelleria, Marettimo, Ustica and Panarea) and at the Straits of Messina between 20 April and 20 May 2006-2013. In our analyses, peak days were considered for each site. This eight year multisite study allowed the collection of a large data set. While crossing the Channel of Sicily, migrants concentrated over Pantelleria (southern side of the Channel) during moderate NW winds, and over Marettimo (northern side) during weaker southerly winds. Over the island of Ustica (north-western Sicily, Tyrrhenian Sea) raptors were observed mostly with weak southerly winds. Over the island of Panarea (north-eastern Sicily) and at the Straits of Messina, European Honey Buzzards passed with weak winds from W and NW, respectively. The average flock size during the peak days was significantly higher over the island of Pantelleria, where birds migrated during the stronger winds. The results of this study show that wind patterns affect both migration pathways and flocking behaviour of this species while crossing large water surfaces.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2814844