Miniaturized GPS Tags Identify Non-breeding Territories of a Small Breeding Migratory Songbird.

  • June 9, 2015
  • by Hallworth, M. T., & Marra, P. P.

For the first time, we use a small archival global positioning system (GPS) tag to identify and characterize non-breeding territories, quantify migratory connectivity, and identify population boundaries of Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla), a small migratory songbird, captured at two widely separated breeding locations. We recovered 15 (31%) GPS tags with data and located the non-breeding territories of breeding Ovenbirds from Maryland and New Hampshire, USA (0.50 ± 0.15 ha, mean ± SE). All non-breeding territories had similar environmental attributes despite being distributed across parts of Florida, Cuba and Hispaniola. New Hampshire and Maryland breeding populations had non-overlapping non-breeding population boundaries that encompassed 114,803 and 169,233 km2, respectively. Archival GPS tags provided unprecedented pinpoint locations and associated environmental information of tropical non-breeding territories. This technology is an important step forward in understanding seasonal interactions and ultimately population dynamics of populations throughout the annual cycle.