International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 59, Issue 10, pp 1385–1394 | Cite as

Influence of atmospheric properties on detection of wood-warbler nocturnal flight calls

  • Kyle G. Horton
  • Phillip M. Stepanian
  • Charlotte E. Wainwright
  • Amy K. Tegeler
Original Paper


Avian migration monitoring can take on many forms; however, monitoring active nocturnal migration of land birds is limited to a few techniques. Avian nocturnal flight calls are currently the only method for describing migrant composition at the species level. However, as this method develops, more information is needed to understand the sources of variation in call detection. Additionally, few studies examine how detection probabilities differ under varying atmospheric conditions. We use nocturnal flight call recordings from captive individuals to explore the dependence of flight call detection on atmospheric temperature and humidity. Height or distance from origin had the largest influence on call detection, while temperature and humidity also influenced detectability at higher altitudes. Because flight call detection varies with both atmospheric conditions and flight height, improved monitoring across time and space will require correction for these factors to generate standardized metrics of songbird migration.


Acoustic monitoring Atmospheric attenuation Bioacoustics Bird migration Flight call 



We would like to thank the Powdermill Avian Research Center for allowing the use of their extensive flight call library, the original work of Michael Lanzone and Andrew Farnsworth in developing techniques for captive flight call recordings, and three anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this paper. Research was supported by NSF Grant EF-1340921, NSF Grant ATM-1016153, and USDA Grant NIFA-AFRI-003536.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle G. Horton
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Phillip M. Stepanian
    • 3
    • 4
  • Charlotte E. Wainwright
    • 3
    • 4
  • Amy K. Tegeler
    • 5
  1. 1.Oklahoma Biological SurveyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Advanced Radar Research CenterUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  4. 4.School of MeteorologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  5. 5.Carnegie Museum of Natural HistoryPowdermill Avian Research CenterRectorUSA

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