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Clumped Arrivals at an Atlantic Puffin Colony

Flemming Ravn Merkel, Niels Kurt Nielsen and Bergur Olsen
Colonial Waterbirds
Vol. 21, No. 2 (1998), pp. 261-267
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1521918
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1521918
Page Count: 7
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Clumped Arrivals at an Atlantic Puffin Colony
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Abstract

Fish-carrying Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) have often been reported arriving at the colony in flocks. We studied the Atlantic Puffin on Skúvoy in the Faroe Islands to analyze the manner of arrival at the colony. During 20 dawn-to-dusk watches regularly spread over the chick-rearing period in 1993, the arrival of fish-carrying birds was timed to the nearest second. Within 14 periods that met analysis-criteria, time intervals between successive arrivals were analyzed in order to determine whether arrivals at the colony were non-random. In 71% of all periods. puffin arrived clumped, with more puffins than expected arriving within intervals of less than or equal to five sec of each other. The overall average of birds arriving in groups was 35%, ranging from 15 to 52% in the individual periods. Ninety-six percent of the groups consisted of two or three birds, the remaining 4% were of four-five birds. These clumped arrivals might be the result of a strategy to reduce kleptoparasitism by Parasitic Jaegers (Stercorarius parasiticus) and predation by Great Skuas (Catharacta skua).

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