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Orographic lift shapes flight routes of gulls in virtually flat landscapes
Sage, E.; Bouten, W.; Hoekstra, B.; Camphuysen, K.C.J.; Shamoun-Baranes, J. (2019). Orographic lift shapes flight routes of gulls in virtually flat landscapes. NPG Scientific Reports 9(1).

Additional data:
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Sage, E.
  • Bouten, W.
  • Hoekstra, B.
  • Camphuysen, K.C.J., more
  • Shamoun-Baranes, J.

    Interactions between landscape and atmosphere result in a dynamic flight habitat which birds may use opportunistically to save energy during flight. However, their ability to utilise these dynamic landscapes and its influence on shaping movement paths is not well understood. We investigate the degree to which gulls utilise fine scale orographic lift created by wind deflected upwards over landscape features in a virtually flat landscape. Using accelerometer measurements and GPS tracking, soaring flight is identified and analysed with respect to orographic lift, modelled using high-resolution digital elevation models and wind measurements. The relationship between orographic lift and flight routes suggests gulls have advanced knowledge of their aerial surroundings and the benefits to be gained from them, even regarding small features such as tree lines. We show that in a landscape constantly influenced by anthropogenic change, the structure of our landscape has an aerial impact on flight route connectivity and costs.

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