Nest attendance and foraging movements of northern fulmars rearing chicks at Bjørnøya Barents Sea
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We studied several aspects of the foraging ecology of fulmars rearing young chicks on Bjørnøya. To determine precisely the duration of foraging trips during the brooding period, we used an automated logging system that recorded the presence of fulmars fitted with transponders. We also tracked, with satellite transmitters, four parent fulmars during the brooding period, and two after the chick had been left alone. When brooding the chick, fulmars appeared to alternate very rapidly on the nest, with foraging trips lasting on average 8 h. This period appeared constraining for the birds since parents lost mass. The growth of chicks was dependent on the ability of the female (and not the male) to do short foraging trips. At this time birds are foraging at an average distance of 60 km from the colony, with birds concentrating on the shelf around Bjørnøya. They did not return from one trip to the next to the same foraging area. As the season progressed and the chicks were left alone on the nest, parents increased the duration and maximum range of foraging trips as well as the distance covered. However, they still perform a succession of relatively short foraging trips to the east of the Bjørnøya shelf but they interspersed these short trips with longer foraging trips. One bird returned twice to the same site along the Norwegian coast 570 km from Bjørnøya, the other foraged at 580 km in the mid-Barents Sea. Average flight speed including time spent on the water was 28 km/h and reached 70 km/h during bouts of more than 1 h when the bird was probably continuously in flight.
KeywordsBrooding Period Average Distance Maximum Range Flight Speed Short Trip
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