Migration routes and stopover areas of Leach’s Storm Petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa


Year: 2019

Publication: Marine Ornithology

Publication Link: http://www.marineornithology.org/content/get.cgi?rn=1293

Full-Text Access: Open

Affiliations: 1Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada
2Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
3Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, 45 Alderney Dr., Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6, Canada

Corresponding Author: *(ipollet@yahoo.com)

Funding: Funding was provided through an NSERC PGS to I.L. Pollet, Encana Corporation’s Deep Panuke Education & Training and Research & Development Fund, Environment Canada, and the Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund (contributions from hunters and trappers).

Keywords: geolocator, Leach’s Storm Petrel, migration, Oceanodroma leucorhoa, seabird tracking, species distribution modelling, stable-isotope analysis

Abstract: Little is known about the movements of small seabirds during migration, but such information is important for their conservation. Leach’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa is the most abundant seabird in Atlantic Canada, but its population has declined in recent years. Here, we describe trans-equatorial and trans-Atlantic migration movements of 13 Leach’s Storm Petrels, which were tracked with geolocators from two breeding colonies in Nova Scotia, Canada: Bon Portage Island and Country Island. Our results indicate that Leach’s Storm Petrels have low migratory connectivity and that they use multiple stopover areas and overwintering destinations. Birds with stopover areas at higher latitudes overwintered in the North Atlantic Ocean, either in areas associated with the North Equatorial Current or in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. Birds with lower-latitude stopover areas overwintered in the South Atlantic Ocean, in areas associated with the Benguela Current off southwestern Africa. We observed greater δ15N values (indicating higher trophic level) in feathers from birds that migrated south compared to birds that stayed in the Northern Hemisphere, but we observed no difference in δ13C (which may be interpreted in multiple ways). Species distribution modelling using remotely sensed oceanographic data indicated that high sea surface temperatures and high chlorophyll a concentrations were important predictors of habitat use in winter.

Supplementary Materials: None

Intrusive Methodologies: Burrow monitoring- petrels were removed from burrows, measured, and banded. Incubating pairs were not disturbed more than twice. Geolocator attachment and retrieval – 80 petrels were tagged over 4 seasons. Tags were attached in less than 10 minutes and the average weight of tags and attaching material was 1.1 grams, which is below the accepted 3% rule for percent of body mass. Tags were removed when petrels returned to their burrows in the subsequent year and the tip of the tenth primary was collected for stable-isotope analysis.

Citizen Science: None

Conservation: Results are important for conservation management but not further discussed



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