University of Oulu

Thomas K Lameris, Adriaan M Dokter, Henk P van der Jeugd, Willem Bouten, Jasper Koster, Stefan H H Sand, Coen Westerduin, Bart A Nolet, Nocturnal foraging lifts time constraints in winter for migratory geese but hardly speeds up fueling, Behavioral Ecology, Volume 32, Issue 3, May/June 2021, Pages 539–552,

Nocturnal foraging lifts time constraints in winter for migratory geese but hardly speeds up fueling

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Author: Lameris, Thomas K1,2,3; Dokter, Adriaan M2,4,5; van der Jeugd, Henk P1,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
2Theoretical and Computational Ecology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Sciencepark 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, the Netherlands
3NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Department of Coastal Systems, Den Burg, Landsdiep 4, 1797 SZ ‘t Horntje (Texel), The Netherlands
4Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
5Vogeltrekstation—Dutch Centre for Avian Migration and Demography (NIOO-KNAW), Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-10-19


Climate warming advances the optimal timing of breeding for many animals. For migrants to start breeding earlier, a concurrent advancement of migration is required, including premigratory fueling of energy reserves. We investigate whether barnacle geese are time constrained during premigratory fueling and whether there is potential to advance or shorten the fueling period to allow an earlier migratory departure. We equipped barnacle geese with GPS trackers and accelerometers to remotely record birds’ behavior, from which we calculated time budgets. We examined how time spent foraging was affected by the available time (during daylight and moonlit nights) and thermoregulation costs. We used an energetic model to assess onset and rates of fueling and whether geese can further advance fueling by extending foraging time. We show that, during winter, when facing higher thermoregulation costs, geese consistently foraged at night, especially during moonlit nights, in order to balance their energy budgets. In spring, birds made use of the increasing day length and gained body stores by foraging longer during the day, but birds stopped foraging extensively during the night. Our model indicates that, by continuing nighttime foraging throughout spring, geese may have some leeway to advance and increase fueling rate, potentially reaching departure body mass 4 days earlier. In light of rapid climatic changes on the breeding grounds, whether this advancement can be realized and whether it will be sufficient to prevent phenological mismatches remains to be determined.

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Series: Behavioral ecology
ISSN: 1045-2249
ISSN-E: 1465-7279
ISSN-L: 1045-2249
Volume: 32
Issue: 3
Pages: 539 - 552
DOI: 10.1093/beheco/araa152
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was supported by the Netherlands Polar Programme grant NWO-NPP 866.13.010.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.