Satellite Telemetry Provides Insight into Where Western Montana Osprey Spend the Winter

Rob Domenech, Adam Shreading, heiko Langner, Erik Greene

Abstract


During a long-term study of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in western Montana on demography and ecotoxicology, migratory information on several birds was collected. It is important to know where these birds migrate and spend the winter because 2/3 of their lives are spent outside Montana. Since virtually nothing was known about where these birds go when they leave the state, in 2012 and 2013 we put satellite transmitters on two families of Osprey (adults and chicks) from nests near Florence, Montana. Telemetry data show that these birds migrate south through a fairly narrow corridor to Arizona and New Mexico, but then go in different directions:  some individuals spend the winter in Texas, and others migrate to Mexico and as far south as the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Migration pathways of the adults were very similar for both south-bound and north-bound migrations across multiple years.

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