Stable isotopes of hydrogen have been used as a tool to determine migratory connectivity, or to link breeding and wintering grounds. Because isotopes serve as intrinsic markers, eliminating the need for birds to be relocated after an initial marking, they hold the potential to be an extremely useful tool. From 1998 to 2003 we gathered feathers from juvenile Merlins (Falco columbarius) and Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) during their fall migration in the Florida Keys and analyzed them isotopically in an attempt to determine their natal origins. Our results failed to reveal the natal origins of at least one of these two birds of prey.
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