Where did the finch go? Insights from radio telemetry of the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis)
Beausoleil, Marc-Olivier et al. (2022), Where did the finch go? Insights from radio telemetry of the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qbzkh18kc
Movement patterns and habitat selection of animals have important implications for ecology and evolution. Darwin's finches are a classic model system for ecological and evolutionary studies, yet their spatial ecology remains poorly studied. We tagged and radio-tracked five (three females, two males) medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) to examine the feasibility of telemetry for understanding their movement and habitat use. Based on 143 locations collected during a three-week period, we analysed, for the first time, home-range size and habitat selection patterns of finches at El Garrapatero, an arid coastal ecosystem on Santa Cruz Island (Galápagos). The average 95% home range and 50% core area for G. fortis in the breeding season were 20.54 ha ± 4.04 ha SE and 4.03 ha ± 1.11 ha SE, respectively. For most of the finches, their home range covered a diverse set of habitats. Three finches positively selected the dry-forest habitat, while the other habitats seemed to be either negatively selected or simply neglected by the finches. In addition, we noted a communal roosting behaviour in an area close to the ocean, where the vegetation is greener and denser than the more inland dry-forest vegetation. We show that telemetry on Darwin’s finches provides valuable data to understand the movement ecology of the species. Based on our results, we propose a series of questions about the ecology and evolution of Darwin’s finches that can be addressed using telemetry.
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