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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 26, 2016

Migratory connectivity of Golden-crowned Sparrows from two wintering regions in California

  • Renée L Cormier , Diana L Humple , Thomas Gardali and Nathaniel E Seavy
From the journal Animal Migration


Knowledge of migratory connectivity is critical to understanding the consequences of habitat loss and climate change on migratory species. We used light-level geolocators to determine breeding locations and migratory routes of wintering Golden-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia atricapilla) in two regions of California, USA. Eight out of 9 birds tagged at coastal-wintering sites in Marin County went to breeding sites along the Gulf Coast of Alaska, while 7 out of 8 inland-wintering birds in Placer County migrated to interior sites in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and British Columbia, Canada. Our estimate of the strength of migratory connectivity was relatively high (rm = 0.66). Coastal-wintering birds followed a coastal migration route while inland-wintering birds migrated inland. Coastalwintering birds migrated significantly farther than inland birds (3,624 km versus 2,442 km). Coastal birds traveled at a greater rate during spring migration (179 km/d) than did inland birds (118 km/d), but there was no statistical difference in the rate of fall migration (167 km/d and 111 km/d, respectively). Dates of arrival and departure, and duration of spring and fall migration, did not differ between groups, nor did return rates. Rates of return also did not differ between tagged and control birds. The distinct migration routes and breeding areas suggests that there may be more structuring in the migratory geography of the Golden-crowned Sparrow than in a simple panmictic population.


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Received: 2016-4-20
Accepted: 2016-8-3
Published Online: 2016-8-26

© 2016 Renée L Cormier et al.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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