CR 35:79-91 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/cr00715

Migration speed and scheduling of annual events by migrating birds in relation to climate change

A. Hedenström1,*, Z. Barta2,3,4, B. Helm5, A. I. Houston4, J. M. McNamara3, N. Jonzén1

1Department of Theoretical Ecology, Lund University, Ecology Building, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
2Behavioural Ecology Research Group, Department of Evolutionary Zoology, University of Debrecen, Egytem tér 1, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary
3Department of Mathematics, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TW, UK
4School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
5Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Andechs, Germany

ABSTRACT: Empirical evidence for changed timing of migration in birds is emerging from both American and Euro-African migration systems. These changes are usually interpreted as a consequence of changes in climate. Responses in timing of migration and breeding may differ among species, and the adaptive significance is not well understood. There is a lack of theoretical understanding about time-shifts in life-history events due to climatic changes. In the present paper, we use 2 separate modelling approaches to investigate the effects of climate change on migration. We first use a simple model of flight speed and foraging to explore which factors may influence migration speed and stopover itinerary. Our second approach derives predictions based on an annual routine model, where behavioural strategies regarding timing of migration, breeding, moult and number of breeding attempts are modelled in an environment comprising 4 locations (breeding and wintering sites and 2 stopover sites). This approach takes account of interrelationships between behaviours and seasons as a step towards realistic modelling of migratory connectivity. Departure from the wintering site is advanced in relation to the advancement of spring if the moult is in summer, but not so for species with a winter moult, while arrival at the breeding site is advanced for both moult scenarios. Timing of breeding and number of successful broods were also affected by spring advancement, while start of moult is relatively unaffected by climate change. These optimal solutions under the modelled set of parameters are discussed with respect to current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying seasonal timing in birds.

KEY WORDS: Annual routines · Climate change · Phenology · Timing of breeding · Bird migration

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Cite this article as: Hedenström A, Barta Z, Helm B, Houston AI, McNamara JM, Jonzén N (2007) Migration speed and scheduling of annual events by migrating birds in relation to climate change. Clim Res 35:79-91

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