Tracking data highlight the importance of human-induced mortality for large migratory birds at a flyway scale

Juan Serratosa*, Steffen Oppel, Shay Rotics, Andrea Santangeli, Stuart H.M. Butchart, Luis S. Cano-Alonso, Jose Luis Tellería, Ryno Kemp, Aaron Nicholas, Aigars Kalvāns, Aitor Galarza, Aldina M.A. Franco, Alessandro Andreotti, Alexander N.G. Kirschel, Alex Ngari, Alvaro Soutullo, Ana Bermejo-Bermejo, Andre J. Botha, Andrea Ferri, Angelos EvangelidisAnna Cenerini, Anton Stamenov, Antonio Hernández-Matías, Arianna Aradis, Atanas P. Grozdanov, Beneharo Rodríguez, Çağan H. Şekercioğlu, Catuxa Cerecedo-Iglesias, Christina Kassara, Christos Barboutis, Claire Bracebridge, Clara García-Ripollés, Corinne J. Kendall, Damijan Denac, Dana G. Schabo, David R. Barber, Dimitar V. Popov, Dobromir D. Dobrev, Egidio Mallia, Elena Kmetova-Biro, Ernesto Álvarez, Evan R. Buechley, Evgeny A. Bragin, Fabrizio Cordischi, Fadzai M. Zengeya, Flavio Monti, Francois Mougeot, Gareth Tate, Georgi Stoyanov, Giacomo Dell'Omo, Giuseppe Lucia, Gradimir Gradev, Guido Ceccolini, Guilad Friedemann, Hans Günther Bauer, Holger Kolberg, Hristo Peshev, Inês Catry, Ingar J. Øien, Isidoro Carbonell Alanís, Ivan Literák, Ivan Pokrovsky, Ivar Ojaste, Jan E. Østnes, Javier de la Puente, Joan Real, João L. Guilherme, José C. González, José M. Fernández-García, Juan Antonio Gil, Julien Terraube, Karel Poprach, Karen Aghababyan, Katharina Klein, Keith L. Bildstein, Kerri Wolter, Kjell Janssens, Kyle D. Kittelberger, Lindy J. Thompson, Mansoor H. AlJahdhami, Manuel Galán, Marcin Tobolka, Mario Posillico, Mario Cipollone, Marion Gschweng, Māris Strazds, Mark Boorman, Mark Zvidzai, Marta Acácio, Marta Romero, Martin Wikelski, Matthias Schmidt, Maurizio Sarà, Michael J. McGrady, Mindaugas Dagys, Monique L. Mackenzie, Muna Al Taq, Msafiri P. Mgumba, Munir Z. Virani, Nicolaos I. Kassinis, Nicolò Borgianni, Nikki Thie, Nikos Tsiopelas, Nili Anglister, Nina Farwig, Nir Sapir, Oddmund Kleven, Oliver Krone, Olivier Duriez, Orr Spiegel, Osama Al Nouri, Pascual López-López, Patrik Byholm, Pauline L. Kamath, Paweł Mirski, Peter Palatitz, Pietro Serroni, Rainer Raab, Ralph Buij, Ramūnas Žydelis, Ran Nathan, Rauri C.K. Bowie, Rigas Tsiakiris, Richard Stratton Hatfield, Roi Harel, Rolf T. Kroglund, Ron Efrat, Ruben Limiñana, Salim Javed, Saša P. Marinković, Sascha Rösner, Sasha Pekarsky, Shiv R. Kapila, Simeon A. Marin, Šimon Krejčí, Sinos Giokas, Siranush Tumanyan, Sondra Turjeman, Sonja C. Krüger, Steven R. Ewing, Stoycho Stoychev, Stoyan C. Nikolov, Tareq E. Qaneer, Theresa Spatz, Thomas G. Hadjikyriakou, Thomas Mueller, Todd E. Katzner, Tomas Aarvak, Tomáš Veselovský, Torgeir Nygård, Ugo Mellone, Ülo Väli, Urmas Sellis, Vicente Urios, Vladimír Nemček, Volen Arkumarev, Wayne M. Getz, Wolfgang Fiedler, Willem Van den Bossche, Yael Lehnardt, Victoria R. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human-induced direct mortality affects huge numbers of birds each year, threatening hundreds of species worldwide. Tracking technologies can be an important tool to investigate temporal and spatial patterns of bird mortality as well as their drivers. We compiled 1704 mortality records from tracking studies across the African-Eurasian flyway for 45 species, including raptors, storks, and cranes, covering the period from 2003 to 2021. Our results show a higher frequency of human-induced causes of mortality than natural causes across taxonomic groups, geographical areas, and age classes. Moreover, we found that the frequency of human-induced mortality remained stable over the study period. From the human-induced mortality events with a known cause (n = 637), three main causes were identified: electrocution (40.5 %), illegal killing (21.7 %), and poisoning (16.3 %). Additionally, combined energy infrastructure-related mortality (i.e., electrocution, power line collision, and wind-farm collision) represented 49 % of all human-induced mortality events. Using a random forest model, the main predictors of human-induced mortality were found to be taxonomic group, geographic location (latitude and longitude), and human footprint index value at the location of mortality. Despite conservation efforts, human drivers of bird mortality in the African-Eurasian flyway do not appear to have declined over the last 15 years for the studied group of species. Results suggest that stronger conservation actions to address these threats across the flyway can reduce their impacts on species. In particular, projected future development of energy infrastructure is a representative example where application of planning, operation, and mitigation measures can enhance bird conservation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number110525
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume293
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The US Geological Survey, The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Bird conservation
  • Energy infrastructure
  • Illegal killing
  • Mortality
  • Poisoning
  • Renewable energy
  • Tracking technologies

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