Therrien, Jean-François

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  • Data package
    Data from: Study "Long-tailed Jaeger - PTT - Canadian Arctic"
    (2022-04-04) Seyer, Yannick; Therrien, Jean-François; Gauthier, Gilles; Bety, Joël
    Long-distance migratory seabirds need to adjust their migration strategy according to internal (breeding, molting) and external factors (seasonality, resource availability). Time-minimizing strategies are common during spring migration to arrive at the optimal time to breed. We studied the annual movements and migration strategy of the long-tailed jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus, a small arctic-nesting seabird. First, we documented year-round movements (routes, wintering sites) of male and female jaegers breeding in the Canadian Arctic. We then compared their migration strategies between seasons (phenology, stopover use, travel distance, speed) to determine whether they adopt a time-minimizing strategy in spring. Over 6 yr, we collected 43 tracks from geolocators deployed on Bylot and Igloolik Islands. Jaegers departed the breeding site over a 5 wk period and traveled on average 32375 km (round trip) before returning to breed, one of the longest documented migrations on Earth. Birds used a major stopover area east of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in spring and fall, and wintered in high marine productivity areas of the South Atlantic. Unexpectedly, the spring migration was 40% longer and 32% slower than in fall, and birds increased their time spent on water (foraging and/or resting) by 61%. A time-minimizing strategy in fall may help to reach the wintering site rapidly and start molting early. In spring, a fly-and-forage strategy seems to be adopted to increase foraging effort, probably for the accumulation of body reserves before breeding and in anticipation of unfavorable conditions that may prevail at arrival on their arctic breeding site.
  • Data package
    Data from: Study "Vultures Acopian Center USA GPS" (2003-2021)
    (2021-12-29) Bildstein, Keith L.; Barber, David; Bechard, Marc J.; Graña Grilli, Maricel; Therrien, Jean-François
    Background: Migrating birds experience weather conditions that change with time, which affect their decision to stop or resume migration. Soaring migrants are especially sensitive to changing weather conditions because they rely on the availability of environmental updrafts to subsidize flight. The timescale that local weather conditions change over is on the order of hours, while stopovers are studied at the daily scale, creating a temporal mismatch. Methods: We used GPS satellite tracking data from four migratory Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) populations, paired with local weather data, to determine if the decision to stopover by migrating Turkey Vultures was in response to changing local weather conditions. We analyzed 174 migrations of 34 individuals from 2006 to 2019 and identified 589 stopovers based on variance of first passage times. We also investigated if the extent of movement activity correlated with average weather conditions experienced during a stopover, and report general patterns of stopover use by Turkey Vultures between seasons and across populations. Results: Stopover duration ranged from 2 h to more than 11 days, with 51 % of stopovers lasting < 24 h. Turkey Vultures began stopovers immediately in response to changes in weather variables that did not favor thermal soaring (e.g., increasing precipitation fraction and decreasing thermal updraft velocity) and their departure from stopovers was associated with improvements in weather that favored thermal development. During stopovers, proportion of activity was negatively associated with precipitation but was positively associated with temperature and thermal updraft velocity. Conclusions: The rapid response of migrating Turkey Vultures to changing weather conditions indicates weather-avoidance is one of the major functions of their stopover use. During stopovers, however, the positive relationship between proportion of movement activity and conditions that promote thermal development suggests not all stopovers are used for weather-avoidance. Our results show that birds are capable of responding rapidly to their environment; therefore, for studies interested in external drivers of weather-related stopovers, it is essential that stopovers be identified at fine temporal scales.