Flack, Andrea

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Data package
    Data from: Costs of migratory decisions: a comparison across eight white stork populations
    (2015-06-13) Flack, Andrea; Fiedler, Wolfgang; Blas, Julio; Pokrovsky, Ivan; Mitropolsky, B.; Kaatz, Michael; Aghababyan, Karen; Khachatryan, A.; Fakriadis, Ioannis; Makrigianni, Eleni; Jerzak, Leszek; Shamin, M.; Shamina, C.; Azafzaf, H.; Mokotjomela, Thabiso M.; Feltrup-Azafzaf, Claudia; Wikelski, Martin
    Annual migratory movements can range from a few tens to thousands of kilometers, creating unique energetic requirements for each specific species and journey. Even within the same species, migration costs can vary largely because of flexible, opportunistic life history strategies. We uncover the large extent of variation in the lifetime migratory decisions of young white storks originating from eight populations. Not only did juvenile storks differ in their geographically distinct wintering locations, their diverse migration patterns also affected the amount of energy individuals invested for locomotion during the first months of their life. Overwintering in areas with higher human population reduced the stork’s overall energy expenditure because of shorter daily foraging trips, closer wintering grounds, or a complete suppression of migration. Because migrants can change ecological processes in several distinct communities simultaneously, understanding their life history decisions helps not only to protect migratory species but also to conserve stable ecosystems.
  • Data package
    Data from: Wind estimation based on thermal soaring of birds
    (2017-11-30) Flack, Andrea; Fiedler, Wolfgang; Wikelski, Martin
    NOTE: An updated and larger version of this dataset is available. See doi:10.5441/001/1.ck04mn78. ABSTRACT: The flight performance of birds is strongly affected by the dynamic state of the atmosphere at the birds' locations. Studies of flight and its impact on the movement ecology of birds must consider the wind to help us understand aerodynamics and bird flight strategies. Here, we introduce a systematic approach to evaluate wind speed and direction from the high-frequency GPS recordings from bird-borne tags during thermalling flight. Our method assumes that a fixed horizontal mean wind speed during a short (18 seconds, 19 GPS fixes) flight segment with a constant turn angle along a closed loop, characteristic of thermalling flight, will generate a fixed drift for each consequent location. We use a maximum-likelihood approach to estimate that drift and to determine the wind and airspeeds at the birds' flight locations. We also provide error estimates for these GPS-derived wind speed estimates. We validate our approach by comparing its wind estimates with the mid-resolution weather reanalysis data from ECMWF, and by examining independent wind estimates from pairs of birds in a large dataset of GPS-tagged migrating storks that were flying in close proximity. Our approach provides accurate and unbiased observations of wind speed and additional detailed information on vertical winds and uplift structure. These precise measurements are otherwise rare and hard to obtain and will broaden our understanding of atmospheric conditions, flight aerodynamics, and bird flight strategies. With an increasing number of GPS-tracked animals, we may soon be able to use birds to inform us about the atmosphere they are flying through and thus improve future ecological and environmental studies.
  • Data package
    Data from: The challenges of the first migration: movement and behavior of juvenile versus adult white storks with insights regarding juvenile mortality
    (2016-04-12) Rotics, Shay; Kaatz, Michael; Resheff, Yehezkel S.; Turjeman, Sondra Feldman; Zurell, Damaris; Sapir, Nir; Eggers, Ute; Flack, Andrea; Fiedler, Wolfgang; Jeltsch, Florian; Wikelski, Martin; Nathan, Ran
    (1) Migration conveys an immense challenge especially for juvenile birds coping with enduring and risky journeys shortly after fledging. Accordingly, juveniles exhibit considerably lower survival rates compared to adults, particularly during migration. Also, juvenile white storks (Ciconia ciconia), which are known to rely on adults during their first fall migration, presumably for navigational purposes, display much lower annual survival than adults. (2) Using detailed GPS and body acceleration data, we examined the patterns and potential causes of age-related differences in fall migration properties of white storks by comparing first-year juveniles and adults. We compared juvenile and adult parameters of movement, behavior and energy expenditure (estimated from overall dynamic body acceleration, ODBA) and placed this in the context of the juveniles’ lower survival rate. (3) Juveniles used flapping flight versus soaring flight 23% more than adults and were estimated to expend 14% more energy during flight. Juveniles did not compensate for increased flight costs by increased refueling or resting during migration. When juveniles and adults migrated together in the same flock, the juvenile flew mostly behind the adult and was left behind when they separated. Juveniles showed greater improvement in flight efficiency throughout migration compared to adults which appears crucial because juveniles exhibiting higher flight costs suffered increased mortality. (4) Our findings demonstrate the conflict between the juveniles’ inferior flight skills and their urge to keep up with mixed adult-juvenile flocks. We suggest that increased flight costs are an important proximate cause of juvenile mortality in white storks and likely in other soaring migrants, and that natural selection is operating on juvenile variation in flight efficiency.