Weight changes of cross-desert migrants at an oasis —do energetic considerations alone determine the length of stopover?
- 1) Department of Zoology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904, Jerusalem, Israel
Trans-Saharan insectivorous passerine night migrants stopping-over at a small oasis in Sinai were weighed as frequently as possible, throughout the entire length of fall and spring migration passages. Due to the small size of the oasis and the intensive trapping effort, most stopping-over birds were captured and weighed throughout a sizeable portion of their stopover period. Weights at first capture were either similar in both seasons, or greater in fall than in spring. In some species fall migrants that stayed one day were heavier than those staying longer. In other species, and for all species in spring, weights of birds that stayed one day did not differ from those staying longer. In most species the weight of birds that stayed for more than one day did not vary significantly between arrival and departure, and cases of weight gains were commoner in fall than in spring. Trends of weight changes of an individual during stopover were usually inconsistent, but the longer it stayed, more it gained (in fall), or less it lost (in spring). It is proposed that stopping-over birds do not always resume their migration only after their fat reserves have been replenished, but that their decision to take off, or the reappearance of the migration impulse, are also controlled by a time program incorporated into their endogenous migration scheme, which constantly updates the time left for sampling and refuelling. It seems that in spring less time is allotted for the whole migration program, hence the time constraint overrides then all other tactical considerations, such as the state of fat reserves, and the weather.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics