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Tufted puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) respond to predation danger during colony approach flights
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-06, 22:51 authored by Brianne AddisonBrianne Addison, RC Ydenberg, BD Smith
In spite of their putative importance in the evolution of certain traits (e.g., nocturnality, coloniality, cliff nesting), the effects of aerial predators on behavior of adult seabirds at colonies have been poorly investigated. We hypothesized that Tufted Puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) respond to danger posed by aerial predators by modifying their behavior to mitigate danger. We observed Tufted Puffins making repeated colony fly-ins and departures and characterized (1) the timing of this behavior, (2) the activity rate (number of birds arriving or departing), and (3) the risk-level of activity, with respect to predation danger posed by Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus). As we predicted, we found that Tufted Puffins (1) dilute danger by synchronizing their fly-in and departure activities, (2) reduce fly-in and departure activity rates when predators are present, and (3) switch to lower-risk fly-in activities (e.g., staying over water where they have an escape route from an aerial attack) when predators are present. © The American Ornithologists' Union, 2007.