Using a broad-scale automated telemetry array, we explored post-fledging movements of blackpoll warblers breeding in Atlantic Canada. We sought to determine the full spatial scale of post-fledging dispersal, to assess support for three hypotheses for regional-scale post-fledging movement, and to determine whether learning influenced movement during this period. We demonstrated that both young and adults moved over distances more than 200 km prior to initiating migration. Adults moved southwest, crossing the Gulf of Maine (GOM), consistent with the commencement of migration hypothesis. Hatch-year birds exhibited less directional movements constrained geographically by the GOM. Their movements were most consistent with exploration hypotheses—that young birds develop a regional-scale map to aid in habitat selection, natal dispersal and subsequent migrations.
PUBLICATION AVAILABLE AT: http://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0593