News

Welcome aboard to our new student Eran Altschuler

25 October 2018

We welcome our new M.Sc. student Eran Altschuler!

Congratulations and warm wishes to our students Inbal and Yosef

27 January 2018

To Inbal for the birth of her daughter, and to Yosef for the birth of his son. We wish them and their families joy and happiness

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New publications

Contrasting aspects of tailswinds and asymmetrical response to crosswinds in soaring migrants

21 February 2018

Becciu, P., Panuccio, M., Catoni, C., Dell'Omo, G., and Sapir, N. 2018. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 72(28). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2447-0  

Hovering hummingbird wing aerodynamics during the annual cycle. II. Implications of wing feather moult

21 February 2018

Achache Y, Sapir N, Elimelech Y. 2018. Hovering hummingbird wing aerodynamics during the annual cycle. II. Implications of wing feather moult. Royal Society Open Science 5: 171766. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171766  

Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements

24 January 2018

Science 359 (6374): 466-469 http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6374/466  

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Timing and flight mode of departure in migrating European bee-eaters in relation to multi-scale meteorological processes

Sapir, N., Wikelski, M., Avissar, R. and Nathan, R. 2011. Timing and flight mode of departure in migrating European bee-eaters in relation to multi-scale meteorological processes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65:1353-1365.

 

ABSTRACT

Understanding departure decisions of migratory birds and the environmental factors affecting them is important for predicting their distribution, abundance, and arrival times to breeding and wintering areas. In the past, methodological difficulties to obtain fine-scale bird departure and meteorological data have limited testing the multi-scale effects of meteorology on bird departure during migration. We investigated departure timing of European bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) staging in southern Israel, identified their departure flight mode (flapping or soaring) using radio telemetry, and measured local meteorological conditions to study if bird departure was affected by these. Departure timing was examined using a timescale analysis design. The conditions before, during, and after the time of departure were compared using timescales of 24 h, 6 h, 1 h, and 10 min and in relation to bird flight mode. At the between-days timescale, barometric pressure at departure time was significantly lower compared with 2–1 day earlier, whereas temperature at departure was significantly higher compared with 3–2 days earlier. Temperature at departure was also higher compared with 6 h and 3–2 h earlier. Tailwind assistance had no significant effect at any timescale. Soaring birds departed at significantly higher temperature compared with flapping birds. We suggest that bee-eater departure is tuned to the infrequent passage of warm atmospheric depressions at the between-days timescale and with an increasing temperature trend within these days enabling the birds to use energetically cheap soaring flight. We thus suggest that energetic considerations dictate the departure decisions of migrating European bee-eaters.

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.