Data from: Wind conditions and geography shape the first outbound migration of juvenile honey buzzards and their distribution across sub-Saharan Africa
Vansteelant, Wouter M. G.; Kekkonen, Jaana; Byholm, Patrik (2017), Data from: Wind conditions and geography shape the first outbound migration of juvenile honey buzzards and their distribution across sub-Saharan Africa, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6nj94
Contemporary tracking studies reveal that low migratory connectivity between breeding and non-breeding ranges is common in migrant landbirds. It is unclear, however, how internal factors and early-life experiences of individual migrants shape the development of their migration routes and concomitant population-level non-breeding distributions. Stochastic wind conditions and geography may determine whether and where migrants end up by the end of their journey. We tested this hypothesis by satellite-tagging 31 fledgling honey buzzards Pernis apivorus from southern Finland and used a global atmospheric reanalysis model to estimate the wind conditions they encountered on their first outbound migration. Migration routes diverged rapidly upon departure and the birds eventually spread out across 3340 km of longitude. Using linear regression models, we show that the birds' longitudinal speeds were strongly affected by zonal wind speed, and negatively affected by latitudinal wind, with significant but minor differences between individuals. Eventually, 49% of variability in the birds' total longitudinal displacements was accounted for by wind conditions on migration. Some birds circumvented the Baltic Sea via Scandinavia or engaged in unusual downwind movements over the Mediterranean, which also affected the longitude at which these individuals arrived in sub-Saharan Africa. To understand why adult migrants use the migration routes and non-breeding sites they use, we must take into account the way in which wind conditions moulded their very first journeys. Our results present some of the first evidence into the mechanisms through which low migratory connectivity emerges.