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Automated monitoring of vocal rutting activity in red deer (Cervus elaphus)
Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V., Golosova O.S.
P. 91-99
Vocal performances represent an important part of advertising male reproductive potential in red deer. Stag total vocal activity in rut period was studied on daily and weekly basis in two translocated herds of Siberian red deer Cervus elaphus sibiricus, kept at two farms in Central Russia (“Tver” and “Kostroma”). On both farms, stag rutting calls were recorded for 5 min each hour of a 24-hour period for the duration of 70-day rut period of 2013 using two automated recording systems, with simultaneous recording ambient temperature. Spectrographic analysis revealed that total number of calls was 30 times higher at Tver than at Kostroma (4341 and 145 calls respectively). Although the correlation between the daily average ambient temperatures in both farms was positive and highly significant, the average numbers of calls per hour did not correlate between herds. Over the course of the season, calling activity was single-humped at Tver and two-humped at Kostroma. In relation to daily activity patterns, the number of calls per hour had one peak between 18:00–09:00 at Tver and two peaks at Kostroma (between 07:00–09:00 and between 16:00–18:00). The estimation of the effect of ambient temperature together with the effect of the week during the rut and time of day revealed that temperature does not have a significant effect on the number of stag rutting calls in either herd. Substantial differences in stag vocal activity between the farms could be due to herd composition and time passed since translocation.

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