Lorenz Pepe Mindt, BA
Currently, I am studying my master in Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Innsbruck. My bachelor study was Environmental Education, a mixture between biology, geography, and pedagogy in Weingarten, Germany. I am strongly interested in behavioral science and ornithology. Therefore, my master thesis examines the foraging behavior and information transfer among red kites (Milvus milvus) in the Swiss canton Fribourg. Some individuals of red kites tend to sleep in common sleeping places (roosts) during winter even though they have their own territory, whilst others strictly remain in their territory. The question of why the birds behave so differently and why some individuals commute between roost and territory is not fully understood. The major reasons seem to be an improved mating opportunity and a more efficient foraging behavior. If so, the kites sleeping in roosts shall be more efficient in finding food sources than strictly solitary birds. To test my hypotheses, I am conducting feeding experiments with roosting and solitary kites, to see whether they gain information from conspecifics and change their foraging behavior. Selected birds are equipped with radio-transmitters and their movement-pattern can be precisely traced back.
In collaboration with the Schweizer Vogelwarte, this thesis is part of the ecological research project Mechanisms of population dynamics among Red Kites lead by Martin Grüebler. The project analyses the rate of survival and reproduction as well as overall bird migration and movement to explain the successful spread of these birds in Switzerland since 1970.