Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 153–169 | Cite as

The influences of weather and topography on water bird migration in the southwestern United States

  • Robert C. Beason
Article

Summary

Radar and visual observations were made on water bird migration throuh the Southwest at six stations from February 1973 through November 1974. The influence of weather on nocturnal non-passerine migration in the Southwest is less significant than reported for passerine migration elsewhere. Both seasonality and weather factors influence water bird migration, but the relative contribution of each is strongly dependent on the specific migration season. Spring migration, which has more extreme weather conditions, shows a stronger correlation to meteorological factors. Autumn migration in the Southwest rarely experiences severe weather, and consequently shows a stronger correlation to seasonality than to weather.

The intensity of spring non-passerine migration was highly correlated with height of freezing level, temperature at sunset and midnight, humidity at sunset, cloud height at sunset and midnight, following winds aloft, and inversely related to change in temperature and day of the year. The most important variables listed by the stepwise linear multiple regression analysis were freezing level, following winds aloft, day of the year, and surface wind speed. When the height of the lowest cloud layer was allowed to enter the regression analysis, freezing level and cloud height were the most significant variables, with the intensity of migration higher with higher freezing level and higher cloud base. The most important variables predicting the occurrence or absence of migration were freezing level, barometric pressure and dew point.

Autumn water bird migration was most highly correlated with cloud height and day of the year, and inversely correlated with humidity. The most important variables from the stepwise regression analysis and discriminant function analysis were day of the year, 670 m following-wind speed, and temperature. When cloud height was allowed to enter the model, it was the only significant factor influencing migration. As in spring, higher rates of autumn migration occurred with higher freezing levels.

More migration occurred on the Great Plains than in the Rocky Mountains; but within the mountains, geography had little influence on the intensity of migration. Indirect evidence indicates that waterfowl and shorebirds move over the mountains (up to 2000 m above the surrounding terrain and 3500 m above sea level), rather than around them.

Keywords

Surface Wind Speed Cloud Layer Spring Migration Cloud Base Discriminant Function Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Able, K.P.: The role of weather variables and flight direction in determining the magnitude of nocturnal bird migration. Ecology 54, 1031–1041 (1973)Google Scholar
  2. Able, K.P.: Environmental influences on the orientation of free-flying nocturnal bird migrants. Anim. Behav. 22, 224–238 (1974)Google Scholar
  3. Afifi, A.A., Azen, S.P.: Statistical analysis. New York: Academic 1972Google Scholar
  4. Alerstam, T., Bauer, C.-A.: A radar study of the spring migration of the Crane (Grus grus) over the southern Baltic area. Vogelwarte 27, 1–16 (1973)Google Scholar
  5. Anscombe, F.J., Tukey, J.W.: The examination and analysis of residuals. Technometrics 5, 141–160 (1963)Google Scholar
  6. Beason, R.C.: A seasonal occurrence checklist of waterfowl hazardous to flight safety in southwestern United States. AFWL-TR-74-174. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Kirtland AFB 1975Google Scholar
  7. Beason, R.C.: Water bird migration in the southwestern United States: The influences of weather and topography. Ph. D. dissertation, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (1976)Google Scholar
  8. Bellrose, F.C.: A spectacular waterfowl migration through central North America. Illinois Nat. Hist. Survey, Biol. Notes 36, 1–24 (1957)Google Scholar
  9. Bellrose, F.C.: Radar in orientation research, pp. 281–309. Proc. XIV Intern. Ornith. Congr. (1967)Google Scholar
  10. Bellrose, F.C.: Waterfowl migration corridors east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States. Illinois Nat. Hist. Survey, Biol. Notes 61, 1–24 (1968)Google Scholar
  11. Bellrose, F.C.: Migration corridors of waterfowl in the United States. FAA-RD-71-70. Washington: Federal Aviation Administration 1971Google Scholar
  12. Bellrose, F.C.: The effect of short-term weather conditions on the migration of waterfowl. FAA-RD-74-72. Washington: Federal Aviation Administration 1974Google Scholar
  13. Bellrose, F.C.: Ducks, geese, and swans of North America. Harrisburg, Penn.: Stackpole 1976Google Scholar
  14. Bellrose, F.C., Sieh, J.: Massed waterfowl flights in the Mississippi flyway, 1956 and 1957. Wilson Bull. 72, 29–59 (1960)Google Scholar
  15. Blokpoel, H.: Observations on the spring migration of Lesser Snow and Blue Geese through southern Manitoba. Asso. Comm. on Bird Hazards to Aircraft, Field Note 56, 1–14 (1971)Google Scholar
  16. Blokpoel, H.: Migration of Lesser Snow and Blue Geese, I. Can. Wildl. Ser. Report 28, 1–30 (1974a)Google Scholar
  17. Blokpoel, H.: Recent changes in chronology of spring Snow Goose migration from southern Manitoba. Can. Field-Natur. 88, 67–71 (1974b)Google Scholar
  18. Blokpoel, H., Burton, J.: Weather and height of nocturnal migration in eastcentral Alberta: a radar study. Bird-Banding 46, 311–328 (1975)Google Scholar
  19. Blokpoel, H., Gauthier, M.C.: Predictions of the 1974 spring Snow Goose migration at Winnipeg International Airport. Assoc. Comm. on Bird Hazards to Aircraft, Field Note 67, 1–31 (1975)Google Scholar
  20. Blokpoel, H., Hayland, J.D., Burton, J., Samson, N.: Observations of the fall migration of Greater Snow Geese across southern Quebec. Can. Field-Natur. 89, 268–277 (1975)Google Scholar
  21. Byers, H.R.: General meteorology. New York: MacGraw-Hill 1959Google Scholar
  22. Bystrak, D.: Wintering areas of some bird species potentially hazardous to aircraft. New York: National Audubon Society 1974Google Scholar
  23. Cagle, M.W., Halpine, C.G.: A pilot's meteorology. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold 1970Google Scholar
  24. Dixon, W.J.: BMD: Biomedical computer programs. Berkely: Univ. California 1968Google Scholar
  25. Eastwood, E., Rider, G.C.: Some radar measurements of the altitude of bird flight. British Birds 58, 393–426 (1965)Google Scholar
  26. Flock, W.L.: Radar observations of bird movements along the Arctic Coast of Alaska. Wilson Bull. 85, 259–275 (1973)Google Scholar
  27. Flock, W.L., Bellrose, F.C.: A radar study of bird migration in the central United States, pp. 273–283. Proc. World Conf. on Bird Hazards to Aircraft, Kingston, Ontario (1969)Google Scholar
  28. Gauthreaux, S.A., Jr.: Weather radar quantification of bird migration. BioScience 20 (1), 17–20 (1970)Google Scholar
  29. Gauthreaux, S.A., Jr.: Radar ornithology: Bird echoes on weather and airport surveillance radars. Clemson University, South Carolina (1975)Google Scholar
  30. Hochbaum, H.A.: Travels and traditions of waterfowl. Minneapolis: Univ. Minnesota 1955Google Scholar
  31. Lawrence, R.G.: Relationships of certain climatological factors to the autumn migration of waterfowl in the central flyway. Ph.D. dissertation Stillwater Oklahoma State Univ. (1964)Google Scholar
  32. Linduska, J.P., ed.: Waterfowl tomorrow. Washington: U.S. Gov. Print. Off. 1964Google Scholar
  33. Monson, G.: Southwest region. Amer. Birds 27, 803–806 (1973)Google Scholar
  34. Nisbet, I.C.T., Drury, W.H., Jr.: Short-term effects of weather on bird migration: A field study using multivariate statistics. Anim. Behav. 16, 496–530 (1968)Google Scholar
  35. Poole, R.W.: Stochastic difference equation predictions of population fluctuations. Theor. Pop. Biol. 9, 25–45 (1976)Google Scholar
  36. Richardson, W.J.: Spring migration and weather in eastern Canada: A radar study. Amer. Birds 25, 684–690 (1971)Google Scholar
  37. Richardson, W.J.: Autumn migration and weather in eastern Canada: A radar study. Amer. Birds 26, 10–17 (1972)Google Scholar
  38. Richardson, W.J.: Multivariate approaches to forecasting day-to-day variations in the amount of bird migration, pp. 309–329. Proc. Conf. on the Biological Aspects of Bird/Aircraft Collision Problems. Clemson Univ., South Carolina (1974a)Google Scholar
  39. Richardson, W.J.: Spring migration over Puerto Rico and the western Atlantic, a radar study. Ibis 116, 172–193 (1974b)Google Scholar
  40. Richardson, W.J.: Autumn migration over Puerto Rico and the western Atlantic, a radar study. Ibis 118, 309–332 (1976)Google Scholar
  41. Service, J.: A user's guide to the Statistical Analysis System. Raleigh: North Carolina State Univ. 1972Google Scholar
  42. Tucker, V.A.: Energetics of natural avian flight. In: Avian energetics (R.A. Pynter, Jr., ed.). Pub. Nuttall Ornith. Club 15, 298–334 1974Google Scholar
  43. Williams, F.: Southern Great Plains region. Amer. Birds 27, 788–792 (1973)Google Scholar
  44. Williams, F.: Southern Great Plains region. Amer. Birds 29, 77–82 (1975)Google Scholar
  45. Zar, J.H.: Biostatistical analysis. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall 1974Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Beason
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

Personalised recommendations