Year-round behavioural time budgets of common woodpigeons inferred from acceleration data using machine learning
Accelerometers capture rapid changes in animal motion, and the analysis of large quantities of such data using machine learning algorithms enables the inference of broad animal behaviour categories such as foraging, flying, and resting over long periods of time. We deployed GPS-GSM/GPRS trackers with tri-axial acceleration sensors on common ... woodpigeons (Columba palumbus) from Hesse, Germany (forest and urban birds) and from Lisbon, Portugal (urban park). We used three machine learning algorithms, Random Forest, Support Vector Machine, and Extreme Gradient Boosting, to classify the main behaviours of the birds, namely foraging, flying, and resting and calculated time budgets over the breeding and winter season. Woodpigeon time budgets varied between seasons, with more foraging time during the breeding season than in winter. Also, woodpigeons from different sites showed differences in the time invested in foraging. The proportion of time woodpigeons spent foraging was lowest in the forest habitat from Hesse, higher in the urban habitat of Hesse, and highest in the urban park in Lisbon. The time budgets we recorded contrast to previous findings in woodpigeons and reaffirm the importance of considering different populations to fully understand the behaviour and adaptation of a particular species to a particular environment. Furthermore, the differences in the time budgets of Woodpigeons from this study and previous ones might be related to environmental change and merit further attention and the future investigation of energy budgets.
Original publication in
Behavioral ecology and sociobiology 77 (2023), 40