Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shorebirds shape up and ship out

Date:
January 21, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Some Canadian shorebirds have had to get fit or die trying. New research has found that the average Pacific dunlin has lost weight and spends more time in flight as a response to the increased threat of predation from their arch-enemy, the peregrine falcon.

Some Canadian shorebirds have had to get fit or die trying. Research published in the open access journal BMC Ecology has found that the average Pacific dunlin has lost weight and spends more time in flight as a response to the increased threat of predation from their arch-enemy, the peregrine falcon.

Related Articles


Fortunately for the falcon, the outlawing of the highly toxic chemical fertilizer DDT in the 1970s has led to an increase in their population. Bad luck though for Pacific dunlins, which once enjoyed lazy winter afternoons roosting in relative safety on the shore of the Fraser River estuary in British Columbia.

Drawing on a pool of data spanning four decades, a team of ecologists led by Ronald Ydenberg from Simon Fraser University has found that the dunlins have had to adapt their behavior -- and their diets -- in order to survive. Ydenberg says, "In the past, dunlins stored up fat reserves in the autumn months so that they could survive the harsh Canadian winters when food is short. What we're seeing now, however, with the increase in numbers of peregrine falcons, is that the dunlins have to consider the energy trade-off between preparing for starvation and being able to escape quickly."

Starving during the winter is still a very real possibility for Pacific dunlins, but they can no longer rest easy now that peregrine falcons are around. Some dunlins will fly long distances to find safer roosts, but many now choose to take to the air en masse during peak peregrine feeding times instead.

"Over-ocean flocking is energetically expensive," says team member Dick Dekker, "but the risk from predators is now greater than the threat of starvation."

When a streamlined hunter is hot on your tail, it doesn't pay to be a fat bird. The average weight of a Pacific dunlin has decreased by 2-4g over the past 40 years. These adaptations, along with spending more time flying out at sea, help the dunlin to escape predators so that they can safely make it through the winter.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ronald C Ydenberg, Dick Dekker, Gary Kaiser, Philippa CF Shepherd, Lesley Evans Ogden, Karen Rickards and David B Lank. The Winter body mass and over-ocean flocking as components of danger management by Pacific dunlins. BMC Ecology, 2010; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Shorebirds shape up and ship out." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120211018.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, January 21). Shorebirds shape up and ship out. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120211018.htm
BioMed Central. "Shorebirds shape up and ship out." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100120211018.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins