Return to the Isle of Puffins
Seasonal movements and pelagic habitat use of murres and puffins determined by satellite telemetry
Hatch, S.A., Meyers, P.A., Mulcahy, D.M., & Douglas, D.C (2000) The Condor 102(1):145-154
We tracked the movements of Common Murres (Uria aalge), Thick-billed Murres (U. lomvia), and Tufted Puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) using surgically implanted satellite transmitters. From 1994-1996, we tagged 53 birds from two colonies in the Gulf of Alaska (Middleton Island and Barren Islands) and two colonies in the Chukchi Sea (Cape Thompson and Cape Lisburne). Murres and puffins ranged 100kn or farther from all colonies in the summer, but most instrumented birds had abandoned breeding attempts and their movements likely differed from those of actively breeding birds. However, murres whose movements in the breeding period suggested they still had chicks to feed foraged repeatedly at distances 50-80km from the Chukchi colonies in 1995. We detected no differences in the foraging patterns of males and females during the breeding season, nor between Thick-billed and Common Murres from mixed colonies. Upon chick departure from the northern colonies, male murres - some believed to be tending their flightless young - drifted with the prevailing currents towards Siberia, whereas most females flew directly south toward the Bering Sea. Murres from Cape Thompson and Cape Lisburne shared a common wintering area in the winter of 1996. We conclude that differences in foraging conditions during summer rather than differential mortality rates in winter account for contrasting population trends previously documented in those two colonies.

Keywords: Common Murre, Fratercula cirrhata, satellite telemetry, Thick-billed Murre, Tufted Puffin, Uria aalge, Uria lomvia.


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