VAN DER VLIET RE, DE KLEPPER A & BOUWMAN HB (2019) Space and habitat use of a city-breeding Rook Corvus frugilegus during the fledging period, as recorded by GPS-tracking. LIMOSA 92 (2): 87-94.
To study space and habitat use of urban Rooks, we tracked
an adult breeding bird using a GPS-logger. The bird was
caught at a colony in the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands,
just before its young fledged. With chicks still in the nest, the
bird had a relatively small home range, moving only up to
500 m from the colony. It mainly foraged on a grass field next
to the colony and some undeveloped fallow land within the
city. In June, after the young had fledged, the home range
gradually became bigger, and the bird started to forage on
more distant sites such as a cherry orchard at about 1 km
from the nest and a rubbish dump at 2.5 km from the nest.
In the meantime, the breeding colony was visited less and
less often, and the bird started to roost outside the colony.
Around the 10th of June it abandoned the (vicinity of the)
colony and moved to an agricultural grassland area south of
the colony. Thus, despite the fact that the bird bred in the
city, it ultimately switched to agricultural habitats, showing
that these urban Rooks do not complete their annual cycle
within the city itself.
During the fledging period the bird visited three existing
Rook colonies near its colony of origin, likely together with
its young. This suggests that the different rookeries in the
area act as one metapopulation.
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