Why are so many migratory birds spending the European Winter in the belt just south of the Sahara, a drought-stricken zone? While anywhere further south wintering conditions seem to be much better? It took eight years (2007-2015), 2000 plots to walk and 308,000 trees to check exhaustively for birds, to shed some light on this question, known as Moreau’s paradox. Recently we published the results in Ardea 103.
The Turtle Dove is in rapid decline, also in The Netherlands. There are various plausible causes for this unprecedented decline in most of Western Europe. Research points out the detrimental impact of our modern farmland practices. But what do our Turtle Doves encounter in their wintering quarters in Africa? And does hunting play a decisive role? Or could it even be that an outbreak of the Trichomonas disease is giving them the final blow?
What happens if you displace an adult cuckoo away from its normal migration route to an area where it has not been before? Most people with knowledge of literature would probably say that of course they will compensate for the displacement and fly back to the correct location. But what is the correct location for a bird that has been displaced not only >1000 km west of its normal route, but also advanced >2000 km south, just before it was supposed to fly south anyway?