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

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

05 July 2019

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: ABSTRACT...

Fruit consumption in migratory passerines is limited by water ingestion rather than by body water balance

05 July 2019

Domer, A., Shochat, A., Ovadia, O., and N. Sapir (2019) Fruit consumption in migratory passerines is limited by water ingestion rather than by body water balance. Journal of Avian Biology...

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Environmental effects on flying migrants revealed by radar

Becciu, P., Menz, M.H.M., Aurbach, A., Cabrera-Cruz, S., Wainwright, C., Scacco, M., Ciach, M., Pettersson, L., Maggini, I., Arroyo, G., Buler, J., Reynolds, D., and N. Sapir. 2019. Environmental effects on flying migrants revealed by radar. Ecography (In press) doi:


Migratory animals are affected by various factors during their journeys, and the study of animal movement by radars has been instrumental in revealing key influences of the environment on flying migrants. Radars enable the simultaneous tracking of many individuals of almost all sizes within the radar range during day and night, and under low visibility conditions. We review how atmospheric conditions, geographic features and human development affect the behavior of migrating insects and birds as recorded by radars. We focus on flight initiation and termination, as well as in-flight behavior that includes changes in animal flight direction, speed and altitude. Several similarities and differences in the behavioral responses of different aerial migrants include an overlooked similarity in the use of thermal updrafts by very small (e.g., aphids) and very large (e.g., vultures) migrants. We propose that many aerial migrants modulate their migratory flights in relation to the interaction between atmospheric conditions and geographic features. For example, aerial migrants that encounter crosswind during flight may terminate their flight or continue their migration and may also drift or compensate for lateral displacement depending on their position (over land, near the coast or over sea). We propose several promising directions for future research, including the development and application of algorithms for tracking insects, bats and large aggregations of animals in weather radars. Additionally, an important contribution will be the spatial expansion of aeroecological radar studies to Africa, most of Asia and South America where no such studies have been undertaken. Quantifying the role of migrants in ecosystems and specifically estimating the number of departing birds from stopover sites using low-elevation radar scans is important for quantifying migrant-habitat relationships. This information, together with estimates of population demographics and migrant abundance, can help resolve the long-term dynamics of migrant populations that face large-scale environmental changes.

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.