We determined the habitat selection of Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, Northern Pintail Anas acuta and Mallard A. platyrhynchos wintering around Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma, northern Japan, by using Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking during the winters of 2015/16 and 2017/18. The GPS device, GPS-TX (Mathematical Assist Design Laboratory) is attached to the bird and transmits the location data to a base station so that the bird does not have to be recaptured to retrieve the data. Whooper Swans showed a diurnal foraging pattern and were located in open water where lotus was abundant, and at an artificial feeding area in Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma. A smaller number of observations were from paddy fields around the lake. Northern Pintails showed the characteristics of both diurnal and nocturnal activity patterns. Pintails in 2015/16 mainly stayed in the artificial feeding area during the day, and some of them moved to the paddy fields to the north and east of the lake at night. The distance from the lake to these paddy fields was an average of 2.5km. Pintails in 2017/18 remained in the artificial feeding area, and during the day they stayed close to the parking lot where people fed the ducks. Mallards showed a nocturnal activity pattern, as they moved to the paddy fields to the north of the lake at night. The distance from the lake to the paddy fields where Mallards stayed at night was an average of 4.5km. Of the farmland surrounding Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma, Whooper Swans and Northern Pintails selected to use dried paddy fields, but Mallards used flooded paddy fields. GPS-TX was shown to be a useful technology to track waterfowl, and hereafter is expected to shed light on wintering ecology
We reviewed observation records of the Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha (Corvidae) in Shikoku Island, Japan. This species of magpie, which is native to the Asian continent, is considered to have escaped captivity and been naturalized in western Shikoku. Thirty-three records of this species, dating from 2000 to 2017, were collected from Ehime and Kochi Prefectures. Two records of fledglings confirmed successful breeding. The magpie was observed mainly in secondary forest habitat sites, though they also used conifer plantation and farmland. These observations suggest that this naturalized species has become widely distributed in lowlands of western Shikoku Island.
The rock dove Columba livia var. domestica, which is a common feral pigeon species, has a high degree of intraspecific variation in plumage coloration. Although there are many studies on this topic, the last research in Japan was made approximately 40 years ago. In this study, we compared the ratio of color plumage polymorphism of the rock dove between Tokyo and Osaka. We counted the number of pigeons with each plumage variation (“blue bar”, “check”, “black” and “others”; Electronic Appendix 1) at six sites in Tokyo and three sites in Osaka. We found that the proportion of blue bar type, which are known as the wild type, was lower in Tokyo than in Osaka. In addition, we surveyed the photographs of feral pigeons from past newspaper articles. The results showed that the proportion of blue bar type has decreased between the 1930s and 2000s in Tokyo, but the reason is unknown.
This location-related GPS data set for a Whooper Swan Cygnus Cygnus, tracked in Japan in 2016, is provided here to benefit public research. The swan was attached with GPS at the Uchinuma Pond, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. It moved south to Otsuka Pond, Ibaraki Prefecture, where it over-wintered. It then moved to southern Sakhalin via Tokachi, Hokkaido, in March 2017. As it entered Sakhalin, Russia, the swan went out of the GPS-tracking coverage area, and we could not follow the route further north. Although many swans have been satellite tracked before to provide long-distance migration information in East Asia, we are unaware of any GPS-tracking data published to date. GPS data is very detailed and accurate, and has the potential to show details of swan wintering ecology within Japan. Currently, detailed data for swans are of potential value to research in the epidemiology of avian influenza, and to identify the potential impact of wind farm construction on swans. We are providing public access to the data set in order that the public may use it for such purposes.
Data download: http://www.bird-research.jp/appendix/br14/14r01.html