Scientists have captured previously unrecorded data on the behavior of the elusive American blackbird. Among other things, they emphasized that birds spend most of their time flying when they are not breeding and that they probably depend on moonlight for hunting. The team was also able to record it right in the middle of a lunar eclipse, during which time the birds suddenly rushed toward Earth.
black swifts (Cypseloides Niger) I know I recommend Some of the most mysterious birds out there. They are rarely seen on land, although they make nests along waterfalls and caves in the western United States and Canada. We are only recently beginning to learn more about their life cycle. About a decade ago, for example, researchers Discover Some black breed groups migrated as south as Brazil during the winter, having traveled about 4,000 miles from their breeding grounds in Colorado.
One of the scientists behind the study, Rob Sparks, and others founded the Black Swift Movement Ecology Project, hoping to reveal the bird’s secrets. At a scientific conference, Sparks met Anders Heidenström, a research fellow in bird flight from Sweden. Hedenström and his team were have found There was previous evidence that the related species living in Europe and Africa, the common fast species, were aerial roosters, meaning that they rarely leave the air while not breeding, spending up to 10 months a year in flight. The couple decided to collaborate and see if the same thing happened with the Black Metamorphoses.
To do this, they carefully captured some quick moves at a location in Colorado using a fog net, then attached backpacks that recorded their flight data as soon as they flew. And as before, these woodcutters gave all kinds of information about these birds.
“In our study, we confirmed that the blackbird flies nonstop over the Amazon during the non-breeding season without landing, perching in the air similar to its Old World counterparts,” says Sparks, a research biologist at the Bird Conservancy. From the Rockies, Gizmodo told in an email. For these birds, the time they spend in the air is about 8 months a year.
The team also found that the transformations seemed to rely on moonlight to help them hunt the tiny insects that they feed on. During the ten days around the full moon, the birds were constantly climbing higher than usual, up to 4,000 metres. Perhaps most bizarre, and without any sense, the team was also able to record it during a lunar eclipse. Just as the birds flew high when there was light, they suddenly fell low when the eclipse came.
Team results published Wed in Current Biology.
Eclipses tend to blame drastic changes in human behaviour, to the point of driving some people crazy. But despite the sudden drop, researchers don’t think the birds were afraid of the eclipse in any way.
“These birds are masters of flight and have developed a remarkable aerial lifestyle, which allows them to adapt to many conditions, both day and night,” said Sparks.
These birds’ flight patterns during full moons and eclipses seem to highlight the importance of moonlight to them. The team hopes that their findings will shed light on their mysterious lives. It is a very important target as it is suspected that the population of Black Swift has decreased over the years.
“Black velocity is a fairly low-key species of conservation interest in North America, and research in its entire annual cycle can help make appropriate decisions, if necessary,” Hedenström, a researcher at the University of California, told Gizmodo Lund.
Sparks added that simply gaining a better understanding of the lives of these amazing and mysterious birds is beneficial in and of itself. “We hope this increases appreciation of our natural world and allows us to consider the value of all life on Earth,” he said.
Next, Sparks and his team plan to study how blacks divert foraging during the breeding season and find a reliable way to track their population numbers. Hedenstrom and colleagues also study the behavior of other nocturnal birds across the Atlantic.
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