Paasivaara, Antti

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  • Data package
    Data from: Birds of three worlds: moult migration to high Arctic expands a boreal‑temperate flyway to a third biome
    (2021-11-15) Piironen, Antti; Paasivaara, Antti; Laaksonen, Toni
    Background: Knowledge on migration patterns and flyways is a key for understanding the dynamics of migratory populations and evolution of migratory behaviour. Bird migration is usually considered to be movements between breeding and wintering areas, while less attention has been paid to other long-distance movements such as moult migration. Methods: We use high-resolution satellite-tracking data from 58 taiga bean geese Anser fabalis fabalis from the years 2019–2020, to study their moult migration during breeding season. We show the moulting sites, estimate the migratory connectivity between the breeding and the moulting sites, and estimate the utilization distributions during moult. We reveal migration routes and compare the length and timing of migration between moult migrants and successful breeders. Results: All satellite-tracked non-breeding and unsuccessfully breeding taiga bean geese migrated annually to the island of Novaya Zemlya in the high Arctic for wing moult, meaning that a large part of the population gathers at the moulting sites outside the breeding range annually for approximately three months. Migratory connectivity between breeding and moulting sites was very low (rm =  − 0.001, 95% CI − 0.1562–0.2897), indicating that individuals from different breeding grounds mix with each other on the moulting sites. Moult migrants began fall migration later in autumn than successful breeders, and their overall annual migration distance was over twofold compared to the successful breeders. Conclusions: Regular moult migration makes the Arctic an equally relevant habitat for the taiga bean goose population as their boreal breeding and temperate wintering grounds, and links ecological communities in these biomes. Moult migration plays an important role in the movement patterns and spatio-temporal distribution of the population. Low migratory connectivity between breeding and moulting sites can potentially contribute to the gene flow within the population. Moult migration to the high Arctic exposes the population to the rapid impacts of global warming to Arctic ecosystems. Additionally, Novaya Zemlya holds radioactive contaminants from various sources, which might still pose a threat to moult migrants. Generally, these results show that moult migration may essentially contribute to the way we should consider bird migration and migratory flyways.