Nav: Home

Blue tit migration decisions may be governed by energy needs and environment

October 12, 2016

Blue tit feeding and exploratory behavior during migration may be driven by their need for energy and environmental information, according to a study published October 12, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Anna Nilsson from the University of Oslo, Norway, and colleagues.

In certain regions Blue tits are partially migratory: some of the population migrates each year while others remain resident, and individuals decide each year anew which strategy to choose. The proportion of migrating birds each year is thought to depend on environmental conditions. However, the factors that govern migratory decisions in individual birds were not previously well understood.

The authors of the present study captured 24 migrating female Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) at the Southern tip of Sweden throughout the month-long migratory season to investigate if Blue tits that migrated early in the season displayed different behavior to those that migrated late. They assessed individuals' age and size, and measured how long they took to explore an unfamiliar environment and to start feeding, as measures of personality traits such as boldness and adaptability.

The researchers found that throughout the migratory season, lean and large individuals were more exploratory and quicker to feed than smaller birds or those with larger fat reserves, indicating that foraging may be mostly driven by energy requirements. However, exploratory behavior also varied over the migratory season: Blue tits that migrated later, particularly juveniles, were more exploratory than birds migrating earlier. As late-migrating birds are under increased time pressure to find shelter and food, the relative need to obtain such environmental information may also determine Blue tit behavior. The personality traits of individual blue tits seemed to have much less effect.

Whilst the study only examined a small sample of Blue tits in a single region, it suggests that energy requirements and the need to obtain environmental information may be important in determining their behavior during migration.
-end-
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163213

Citation: Nilsson ALK, Nilsson J-Å, Mettke-Hofmann C (2016) Energy Reserves, Information Need and a Pinch of Personality Determine Decision-Making on Route in Partially Migratory Blue Tits. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0163213. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163213

Funding: The Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, Sweden (Nils Olof Berggrens fond, 2007-11-14, to ALKN). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: Claudia Mettke-Hofmann is a PLOS ONE Editorial Board member. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

PLOS

Related Behavior Articles:

How synaptic changes translate to behavior changes
Learning changes behavior by altering many connections between brain cells in a variety of ways all at the same time, according to a study of sea slugs recently published in JNeurosci.
I won't have what he's having: The brain and socially motivated behavior
Monkeys devalue rewards when they anticipate that another monkey will get them instead.
Unlocking animal behavior through motion
Using physics to study different types of animal motion, such as burrowing worms or flying flocks, can reveal how animals behave in different settings.
AI to help monitor behavior
Algorithms based on artificial intelligence do better at supporting educational and clinical decision-making, according to a new study.
Increasing opportunities for sustainable behavior
To mitigate climate change and safeguard ecosystems, we need to make drastic changes in our consumption and transport behaviors.
Predicting a protein's behavior from its appearance
Researchers at EPFL have developed a new way to predict a protein's interactions with other proteins and biomolecules, and its biochemical activity, merely by observing its surface.
Spirituality affects the behavior of mortgagers
According to Olga Miroshnichenko, a Sc.D in Economics, and a Professor at the Department of Economics and Finance, Tyumen State University, morals affect the thinking of mortgage payers and help them avoid past due payments.
Asking if behavior can be changed on climate crisis
One of the more complex problems facing social psychologists today is whether any intervention can move people to change their behavior about climate change and protecting the environment for the sake of future generations.
Is Instagram behavior motivated by a desire to belong?
Does a desire to belong and perceived social support drive a person's frequency of Instagram use?
A 3D view of climatic behavior at the third pole
Research across several areas of the 'Third Pole' -- the high-mountain region centered on the Tibetan Plateau -- shows a seasonal cycle in how near-surface temperature changes with elevation.
More Behavior News and Behavior Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.