Left behind? Shorebirds at Roebuck Bay in winter:
Dr Danny Rogers provides an insight into why some young shorebirds stay in their Australian feeding grounds rather than migrating to their northern breeding grounds. The preparation for this migration takes months and the feeding grounds of Roebuck Bay are the source of the stored energy that is required for this long journey. The birds must virtually double their body weight to reach the Chinese Coast, their main stopover on the way north.
Young birds, still learning the art of successful foraging, cannot feed fast enough to build up their bodies sufficiently by the departure deadline. They must reach the breeding grounds by the beginning of June to have any chance of breeding successfully in the short nesting season of the Arctic summer. So, not surprisingly, the many birds left at Roebuck Bay over the Australian winter are too young to make the return flight north.
Shore birds feeding styles:
Dr Danny Rogers looks at the wide range of feeding styles that the shorebirds employ on the mudflats of Roebuck Bay. This bay, in Western Australia, is one of the most important feeding grounds for migratory shorebirds. Given the huge numbers of birds that this ecosystem supports, it is hardly surprising that there are different feeding styles on view.
Complex social behaviours take intelligence:
Dr Culum Brown describes some unusual interactions common among fishes.