Flight call rates of migrating thrushes: effects of wind conditions, humidity and time of day at an illuminated offshore platform
Article first published online: 1 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Authors
Journal of Avian Biology
Volume 43, Issue 1, pages 85–90, January 2012
How to Cite
Hüppop, O. and Hilgerloh, G. (2012), Flight call rates of migrating thrushes: effects of wind conditions, humidity and time of day at an illuminated offshore platform. Journal of Avian Biology, 43: 85–90. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2011.05443.x
- Issue published online: 20 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 1 MAR 2012
- Paper manuscript accepted 12 December 2011
Many bird species call during migration, but call rates not necessarily reflect migration intensity. They rather seem to increase under deteriorating flight conditions. Often, nocturnal mass collisions at illuminated structures coincide with such conditions and are accompanied with high call rates of migrants. Thus, call rates could act as an indicator for situations with high collision risk for birds namely at offshore sites with hardly any alternatives for landing. In the face of increasing numbers of offshore wind farms knowledge about the environmental conditions in which maximum call rates occur, is needed for mitigation measures.
In this first long-term study at an offshore site in the southern North Sea we investigated the effect of weather on the frequency of flight calls of three thrush-species at an illuminated platform. Flight calls were registered automatically during three autumn migration seasons. Besides generally higher call rates from 5 to 2 h before until 6 h after midnight, call rates increased with tailwinds, a change of the tailwind component during the first part of the night, offshore crosswinds and very high humidity.
A monitoring programme is suggested that could help to reduce mass mortalities at illuminated structures.