Our model runs suggest that the modern distribution of optimum stopovers in the eastern United States can be adequately exploited by birds following migratory pathways defined by fixed-orientation and fixed-distance nightly flights. Longer flight distances may increase the chances of success by enabling migrants to bypass locales offering little habitat. Our results also suggest that most southwest–northeast migratory pathways through the Appalachian mountains are intact. Lack of optimal habitat at key locations in the Southeast causes many modeled pathways to fail. We present a speculative view of regional migration patterns implied by predominant ideas found in stopover ecology literature, and demonstrate the need for broad-scale migration research, in the hope that our approach will foster other continental- and regional-scale projects.
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