Data from: Size and accumulation of fuel reserves at stopover predict nocturnal restlessness in a migratory bird
Eikenaar, Cas; Schläfke, Jan Laszlo (2014), Data from: Size and accumulation of fuel reserves at stopover predict nocturnal restlessness in a migratory bird, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.703s1
Early arrival at the breeding site positively affects the breeding success of migratory birds. During migration, birds spend most of their time at stopovers. Therefore, determining which factors shape stopover duration is essential to our understanding of avian migration. Because the main purpose of stopover is to accumulate fat as fuel for the next flight bout, fuel reserves at arrival and the accumulation of fuel are both expected to affect stopover departure decisions. Here, we determined whether in northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), captured and temporarily contained at spring stopover, fuel reserves and fuel accumulation predict a bird’s motivation to depart, quantified by nocturnal migratory restlessness (Zugunruhe). We found that fuel reserves at capture were positively correlated with Zugunruhe, and negatively correlated with fuel accumulation. This indicates that fat birds were motivated to depart, whereas lean birds were set on staying and accumulating fuel. Moreover, the change in fuel reserves was positively correlated with the concurrent change in Zugunruhe, providing the first empirical evidence for a direct link between fuel accumulation and Zugunruhe during stopover. Our study indicates that, together with innate rhythms and weather, the size and accumulation of fuel reserves shape stopover duration, and hence overall migration time.