News

Congratulations and warm wishes to our students Inbal and Yuval!

05 May 2020

To Inbal for the birth of her son, Nuri, and to Yuval for the birth of his son, Aviv!  

Congratulations and warm wishes to the head of our lab Nir Sapir

05 May 2020

For his promotion to Associate Professor!

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New publications

Feather moult and bird appearance are correlated with global warming over the last 200 years

11 May 2020

Kiat, Y., Vortman, Y., and N. Sapir. (2019) Feather moult and bird appearance are correlated with global warming over the last 200 years. Nature Communications 10 (2540). doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10452-1 ABSTRACT...

Causes and consequences of facultative sea crossing in a soaring migrant

11 May 2020

Becciu, P., Rotics, S., Horvitz, N., Kaatz, M., Fiedler, W., Zurell, D., Flack, A., Jeltsch, F., Wikelski, M., Nathan, R., and N. Sapir. 2020. Causes and consequences of facultative sea...

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Compensation for lateral drift due to crosswind in migrating European bee-eaters

Sapir, N., Horvitz, N., Wikelski, M., Avissar, R. and Nathan, R. 2014. Compensation for lateral drift due to crosswind in migrating European bee-eaters. Journal of Ornithology 155:745-753.

 

ABSTRACT

Billions of seasonally migrating birds and insects use two principal modes of flight, i.e., flapping and soaring–gliding. Flight mode is known to have strong effects on energy expenditure and speed of migration, yet its influence on the migratory track has rarely been investigated. Using radio telemetry, we studied the effects of crosswind on European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) during their spring migration with respect to different flight modes. Flapping, soaring–gliding, and mixed flight in which the birds flapped during gliding were distinguished by radio signals while the birds were flying en route over southern Israel. The regional atmospheric modeling system was applied in high spatial (1 km × 1 km) and temporal (5 min) resolution to estimate winds encountered aloft. We analyzed data from 11 birds that flew over a total distance of 810 km and found that lateral drift due to side wind did not differ among birds engaged in different flight modes. Overall, there was almost no effect of crosswind speed on bird lateral speed, as the regression slope was 0.31 (indicting mild lateral drift) and the regression’s R 2 was 0.01. Therefore, we conclude that migrating bee-eaters compensated for crosswind during their spring migration and that this response was not dependent on bird flight mode.

About us

We are a group of scientists devoted to the study of animal flight, including animal movement ecology, behavior, physiology and biomechanics. We study wild animals in the field and in the lab using a diversity of research approaches. We welcome applications for M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies and post-doctoral work in our group at the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology at the University of Haifa.