Nocturnal passerine migrants were tracked with a small automatic tracking radar during spring migration in eastern New York. Climbing, descending and markedly non-linear tracks were selected for analysis because they may reveal relationships not evident in normal straight and level tracks. Climbing individuals ascended at 1 to 2 vertical metres per second by heading into the wind and increasing their ascent angles while air speed tended to remain constant. Within individual tracks, birds flew slower when flying downwind than when flying into the wind and changes in air speed were performed over periods of a few seconds. A small amount of data suggested that this behaviour did not occur under overcast skies. Both the direction and speed of the wind force were important in predicting air speed. Multiple regression analysis indicated that faster flying birds were more likely to fly in winds of high speed and at large angles into the wind.
The Flight Behaviour of Individual Passerine Nocturnal Migrants: A Tracking Radar Study
Able, K. (1977). The Flight Behaviour of Individual Passerine Nocturnal Migrants: A Tracking Radar Study. Animal Behaviour, 25(4), 924-935.