The Secret Life of the Galapagos Islands. What are the mysteries of Darwin’s birds?

Using radio transmitters, scientists have gained new insights into the behavior of this species. Giuseppe Fortes From the Galapagos Islands.

A study by researchers at McGill University revealed daily movement patterns covering an area the size of 30 football fields.

Until now, researchers have known little about the secret lives of these birds, in part due to the challenges of studying them in their natural habitat, which includes rugged terrain, volcanic rocks and extreme weather conditions, says Eurek Alert.

For the first time, scientists have been tracking birds’ movements day and night, categorizing them into tiny electronic backpacks that weigh just half a gram. The research, which was conducted in a remote coastal area of ​​Santa Cruz, is published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Habitat threatened by urban sprawl

In addition to the unusual distances the core travels, the study showed that feeding areas increased during the nesting and feeding phase, when the parents need to find more food. says lead author Marc-Olivier Beausoleil, a doctoral student under the supervision of Professor McGill Rowan Barrett in the Department of Biology.

The essence established its breeding grounds in a barren forest with incense trees – Bursera Gravolens and aloe vera. Males spent most of their time building their nests frantically searching back and forth for materials, while the task of incubation was entirely left to their partners. Tracking the site during the day showed that whales rarely move more than a hundred yards from their nests in search of food or building materials. So why do they need so much space?

Approach that happens even at night

Most birds rarely congregate for shelter during breeding, unless they are nesting in groups such as colonies of penguins or starlings. Surprisingly, the team found Darwin’s songs a distinct exception. “Almost all the distinct elements left their breeding grounds after sunset and traveled four times as far as they normally would during the day. A mystical destination: a lush orchard of poisoned apples—Hippomane mancinella, by the sea, where nearly a thousand quince gather at night to rest,” he says. Beausoleil.

Although it is common to observe large groups of core in the higher regions of the islands outside the breeding season, the researchers did not expect to find evidence of such social behavior at the breeding peak.

“Sleeping with others helps birds fight off the cold and reduces the risk of prey. Although the advantages of this behavior are not evident in a place where temperatures are mild and predators are scarce. This leads us to believe that the behavior may be inherited from their continental ancestors,” Carlos said. Camacho, researcher at the Instituto Perinico de Ecology and coordinator of the study.

The legacy of Darwin’s famous songs

Nearly 150 years after Darwin’s death, his famous songs have continued to interest scholars. The species has been closely associated with the British naturalist since he developed his theory of natural selection nearly 150 years ago, after visiting the Galapagos Islands and witnessing their extraordinary biodiversity.

Darwin’s core is currently one of the most studied organisms on the planet. Thanks to them, we know how quickly evolutionary changes can occur and how the exchange of genetic material between different populations can stimulate the emergence of new species.

The results of this paper raise new and interesting questions for scientists, while providing information that is very useful for preserving the biodiversity and ecosystems that are unique to our planet.

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