Free-ranging foraging trips of Manx shearwaters

Padget O, Stanley G, Willis JK, Fayet AL, Bond S, Maurice L, Shoji A, Dean B, Kirk H, Juarez-Martinez I, Freeman R, Bolton M, Guilford T. 2019. Free-ranging foraging trips of Manx shearwaters. Movebank Data Repository.
While displacement experiments have been powerful for determining the sensory basis of homing navigation in birds, they have left unresolved important cognitive aspects of navigation such as what birds know about their location relative to home and the anticipated route. Here, we analyze the free-ranging Global Positioning System (GPS) tracks of a large sample (n = 707) of Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus, foraging trips to investigate, from a cognitive perspective, what a wild, pelagic seabird knows as it begins to home naturally. By exploiting a kind of natural experimental contrast (journeys with or without intervening obstacles) we first show that, at the start of homing, sometimes hundreds of kilometers from the colony, shearwaters are well oriented in the homeward direction, but often fail to encode intervening barriers over which they will not fly (islands or peninsulas), constrained to flying farther as a result. Second, shearwaters time their homing journeys, leaving earlier in the day when they have farther to go, and this ability to judge distance home also apparently ignores intervening obstacles. Thus, at the start of homing, shearwaters appear to be making navigational decisions using both geographic direction and distance to the goal. Since we find no decrease in orientation accuracy with trip length, duration, or tortuosity, path integration mechanisms cannot account for these findings. Instead, our results imply that a navigational mechanism used to direct natural large-scale movements in wild pelagic seabirds has map-like properties and is probably based on large-scale gradients.
animal foraging,animal movement,animal navigation,animal tracking,Manx shearwater,Procellariiformes,Puffinus puffinus,seabirds,spatial cognition
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DOIs of related Publications
  title = {Free-ranging foraging trips of Manx shearwaters},
  author = {Padget, O and Stanley, G and Willis, JK and Fayet, AL and Bond, S and Maurice, L and Shoji, A and Dean, B and Kirk, H and Juarez-Martinez, I and Freeman, R and Bolton, M and Guilford, T},
  year = {2019},
  URL = {},
  doi = {doi:10.5441/001/1.k20j58qt/1},
  publisher = {Movebank data repository}
ID  - doi:10.5441/001/1.k20j58qt/1
T1  - Free-ranging foraging trips of Manx shearwaters
AU  - Padget, Oliver
AU  - Stanley, Geoff
AU  - Willis, Jay K.
AU  - Fayet, Annette L.
AU  - Bond, Sara
AU  - Maurice, Louise
AU  - Shoji, Akiko
AU  - Dean, Ben
AU  - Kirk, Holly
AU  - Juarez-Martinez, Ignacio
AU  - Freeman, Robin
AU  - Bolton, Mark
AU  - Guilford, Tim
Y1  - 2019/10/13
KW  - animal foraging
KW  - animal movement
KW  - animal navigation
KW  - animal tracking
KW  - Manx shearwater
KW  - Procellariiformes
KW  - Puffinus puffinus
KW  - seabirds
KW  - spatial cognition
KW  - Puffinus puffinus
PB  - Movebank data repository
UR  -
DO  - doi:10.5441/001/1.k20j58qt/1
ER  -