Migratory birds wintering at the same location are usually coming from populations of different origins, in variable proportions. Using data from individuals banded on their wintering grounds and recovered on their breeding areas, we show that such proportions are estimable given that 1) all breeding populations are identified, and 2) the wintering population can be stratified into ≥1 more site than the number of breeding populations. We applied this technique to woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) banded while wintering in France (N = 35,000) and recovered in other European countries (N = 520). We estimated that the proportion of eastern woodcock among those wintering in France varied spatially, ranging from 70% in northwest France to nearly 100% in southeast France, and increased substantially over the last 15 years. Overall, the method appears powerful to quantify spatial variation of the composition of a population receiving individuals from various origins.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3