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Translocation experiments, in which researchers displace animals, then monitor their movements to return home, are commonly used as tools to assess functional connectivity of fragmented landscapes. Yet we lack tests of whether movement behavior of translocated birds reflects natural behavior of unmanipulated birds. We compared the routine movement behavior of a tropical hummingbird (Phaethornis guy) to that of experimentally translocated individuals. Behaviors documented during translocation experiments reflected those observed during routine movements. Both translocated and non-translocated birds showed similar levels of preference for mature tropical forest and avoided movement across non-forested matrix and selected streams as movement corridors. Restricted movement of P. guy in fragmented landscapes may explain depressed plant reproduction in small, isolated fragments.
These photographs illustrate the article “Functional connectivity experiments reflect routine movement behavior of a tropical hummingbird species” by Noelia L. Volpe, Adam S. Hadley, W. Douglas Robinson, and Matthew G. Betts, scheduled to appear in Ecological Applications 24:2122–2131, December 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/13-2168.1