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Climate variability and the timing of spring raptor migration in eastern North America
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological Univ., 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Avian Biology, ISSN 0908-8857, E-ISSN 1600-048X, Vol. 47, no 2, 208-218 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Many birds have advanced their spring migration and breeding phenology in response to climate change, yet some long-distance migrants appear constrained in their adjustments. In addition, bird species with long generation times and those in higher trophic positions may also be less able to track climate-induced shifts in food availability. Migratory birds of prey may therefore be particularly vulnerable to climate change because: 1) most are long-lived and have relatively low reproductive capacity, 2) many feed predominately on insectivorous passerines, and 3) several undertake annual migrations totaling tens of thousands of kilometers. Using multi-decadal datasets for 14 raptor species observed at six sites across the Great Lakes region of North America, we detected phenological shifts in spring migration consistent with decadal climatic oscillations and global climate change. While the North Atlantic and El Nino Southern Oscillations exerted heterogeneous effects on the phenology of a few species, arrival dates more generally advanced by 1.18 d per decade, a pattern consistent with the effects of global climate change. After accounting for heterogeneity across observation sites, five of the 10 most abundant species advanced the bulk of their spring migration phenology. Contrary to expectations, we found that long-distance migrants and birds with longer generation times tended to make the greatest advancements to their spring migration. Such results may indicate that phenotypic plasticity can facilitate climatic responses among these long-lived predators.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 47, no 2, 208-218 p.
National Category
Ecology Climate Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120659DOI: 10.1111/jav.00692ISI: 000373014800009OAI: diva2:950591
Available from: 2016-08-01 Created: 2016-05-18 Last updated: 2016-08-01Bibliographically approved

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Sullivan, Alexis R.
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