The Aerial Migration Of The Bar Headed Goose

2007 Words9 Pages
The Aerial Migration of the Bar-headed Goose:

As a biological adaptation in response to a mountain barrier

Every year, birds of all types around the world are forced to migrate between breeding and wintering grounds as a survival mechanism. Seasonal variations in climate greatly impact conditions of life for birds, forcing them to brave these journeys despite the threat of predators and harsh conditions along the way (Alerstam & Christie, 1993). To make their journeys even more difficult, birds often encounter large mountain barriers on their routes, forcing them to rise in elevation several kilometers in some cases to pass these great barriers, where the thinner air can increase the energy costs of flying by up to 30% (Hawkes et al., 2011).
The goal of this paper is to discover how birds use air circulation patterns to aid in their migration, then to demonstrate the effects of mountain meteorology on overpassing birds by presenting a case where a mountain barrier has altered normal migration behaviour. First the paper will discuss normal wind selectivity of migratory flight in birds as described by Akesson and Hedenstrom (2000), then will go on to discuss basic air circulation characteristics in mountain environments and how the Bar-headed Goose has adapted to its iconic migration over the tallest mountain range on Earth: the Himalayas. The research draws from a satellite tracking experiment conducted in Sweden that explains normal wind selectivity in

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