Editors’ picks

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Highlights from the latest issue

April 2021 | Vol. 163, issue 2
We’re pleased to deliver another packed issue containing a review paper, 26 full papers, two short communications, two Forum articles and our regular book reviews.

Here, Editor in Chief, Dominic McCafferty, has selected four of his highlights.

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    Applications of digital imaging and analysis in seabird monitoring and research
    Alice J. Edney and Matt J. Wood
    Alice Edney and Matt Wood examine the suitability of using satellites, manned aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and fixed‐position, handheld and animal‐borne cameras to record seabird behaviour and monitor populations. They review the strengths and weaknesses of these technologies by considering disturbance impacts, accuracy of results, cost‐effectiveness and scale of monitoring compared with traditional methods. Edney and Wood conclude that these new methods have great potential for seabird research as the technology evolves and will benefit seabird monitoring and conservation in the future. View
    Insights on the effect of aircraft traffic on avian vocal activity
    Hannah Vincelette, Rachel Buxton, Nathan Kleist, Megan F. McKenna, Davyd Betchkal and George Wittemyer
    The decrease in aircraft flights because of the COVID-19 pandemic make studies on the effect of aircraft noise on birds particularly timely. Vincelette and colleagues selected sites in Denali National Park (USA) which experience little human presence, and quantified the richness of bird vocalizations before, during and after aircraft events. They found evidence of increased bird vocalization richness after aircraft events at a site with relatively lower aircraft noise but where aircraft noise was greater, bird vocalization richness did not change during or after an aircraft event. This study provides insights into the complexity of wildlife responses to aircrafts and highlights why noise research should also be considered in the management of quiet and undisturbed areas.

    Read more from the lead author on #theBOUblog View

    Cross‐icecap spring migration confirmed in a high‐Arctic seabird, the Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea
    Morten Frederiksen, Olivier Gilg and Glenn Yannic
    In this remarkable study, Morten Frederiksen, Olivier Gilg and Glenn Yannic GPS-tracked Ivory Gulls during spring migration from the wintering area in Davis Strait to the breeding colony in north‐east Greenland. While one bird migrated around the southern tip of Greenland, the other delayed migration by 2 months and crossed the Greenland icecap north of 70°N, covering 1345 km in 29 h. What was impressive was that the track was direct, the bird stopped on the icecap and flew to an altitude of over 4000 m to successfully migrate across East Greenland. Previous studies suggest that seabirds do not often migrate across terrestrial barriers. However future studies may reveal how exceptional this example may be.
    Combining citizen science and weather radar data to study large‐scale bird movements
    Nadja Weisshaupt, Teemu Lehtiniemi and Jarmo Koistinen
    Weather radar registers biological targets and because of their large networks radar is suitable to study regional to continent‐wide dynamics of aerofauna and to respond to human–wildlife conflicts in the air. In this forum paper, Nadja Weisshaupt, Teemu Lehtiniemi and Jarmo Koistinen discuss ways in which citizen science can now be combined with weather radar to provide unprecedented insights into aerial movements of birds. They argue that this is a great opportunity where ‘big data with little effort’ can be used to improve our understanding of bird movements and mitigate against bird-aircraft collisions.
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Image credits
From top:
Field researchers deploying a UAV | © Matt Wood (from paper)
Airplane over Denali National Park and Preserve, U.S. National Park Service CC0 PD
Ivory Gull | Tim CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons
Figure | from paper