Send to

Choose Destination
J Theor Biol. 2011 Feb 7;270(1):112-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.10.038. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

Understanding soaring bird migration through interactions and decisions at the individual level.

Author information

University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Many soaring bird species migrate southwards in autumn from their breeding grounds in Europe and Central Asia towards their wintering grounds. Our knowledge about interactions between migrating birds, thermal selection during migration and mechanisms that lead to flocking or convergent travel networks is still very limited. To start investigating these aspects we developed an individual-based simulation model that describes the local interactions between birds and their environment during their migratory flight, leading to emergent patterns at larger scales. The aim of our model is to identify likely decision rules with respect to thermal selection and navigation. After explaining the model, it is applied to analyse the migration of white storks (Ciconia ciconia) over part of its migration domain. A model base-run is accompanied by a sensitivity analysis. It appears that social interactions lead to the use of fewer thermals and slight increases in distance travelled. Possibilities for different model extensions and further model application are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center