Apr 10, 2017 10:59 AM EDT
The animal kingdom tends to be polygamous on the whole. However, orange-beaked puffins are more monogamous than others. Those pair-bonded puffins that fly on similar migration routes are more successful in giving birth to and bringing up their brood in the coming season.
Puffins that are orange-beaked pair off and breed in the same grounds. However, in winter, you can see them flying off to the oceans for eight months. University of Oxford zoologist Annette Fayet and her colleagues are trying to probe into and explain the puffin relationships in that season. The experimenters have been examining 12 pairs of Atlantic puffins from Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, in Wales, with geolocation devices, according to Live Science.
After tracking the puffin journeys for six years, the researchers found that even if the puffins got transported to winter resorts separately, they took similar paths in the beginning. Even though their paths diverged further with time, the amazing thing was that while returning, the puffins could return together to their nesting grounds on Skomer Island.
The similarity between the migration paths helped both Puffin partners to breed earlier and successfully bring up their offspring. Proximity between the partners could help the puffins to return together, according to Eureka Alert. The experts also found that female puffin chicks who found more resources during the winter were better equipped to lay eggs and bring up their brood successfully.
The team is glad that with smaller tracking devices, the scientists have been able to find out what the pairs do all winter when they are far away from the scientific team. So far, tracking devices have not been able to get fit on smaller birds. "The recent miniaturization of tracking technology mean[s] we can now study the at-sea movement of puffins and other small migratory seabirds over months and even years," said Fayet.
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