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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The effect of weather on migrating bee-eaters studied by radio-telemetry and numeric atmospheric model

Sapir, N., Nathan, R., Wikelski, M., and Avissar, R. 2010. The effect of weather on migrating bee-eaters studied by radio-telemetry and numeric atmospheric model. Proceedings of the 2010 meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, in Integrative and Comparative Biology 50(S1): E156.

 

ABSTRACT

Despite being the subject of comprehensive basic and applied research, current understanding of the response of migrating birds to environmental factors is still hampered by our capacity to discern key interactions of migrating birds with their environment at appropriate small and short scales over which a bird senses, and responds to, environmental variation. To overcome this major limitation, we employed radio-telemetry systems and numeric atmospheric modeling to study the migration of the European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) over Southern Israel. The Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) was applied to simulate the meteorological conditions encountered by the birds at 0.25 km and 1 min resolution. We found that bird take-off from stopover sites was associated with temperature peak at the between-day scale, and occurred during increasing temperature trend at the within-day scale. Moreover, soaring birds took-off at significantly higher temperatures compared to flapping birds. During cross-country migration, flight-mode was found primarily to depend on the atmosphere's turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), and temperature. Soaring was executed under high TKE and temperature, and weak tailwind assistance, while flapping took place under extremely low TKE and temperature, and headwind conditions. Bird airspeed during flapping was higher than during soaring, but the corresponding ground speeds were similar due to the effect of tailwind assistance. Bird heart-rate during soaring was found to be substantially lower compared to flapping, explaining the propensity of bee-eaters to migrate by soaring. We suggest that application of numeric atmospheric modeling may help scrutinize the response of migrating birds to their environment.

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.