CR 66:185-199 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01344

Effects of urbanization on bird phenology: a continental study of paired urban and rural populations

Anders Pape Møller1,2, Mario Díaz3, Tomáš Grim4, Alena Dvorská4, Einar Flensted-Jensen5, Juan Diego Ibáñez-Álamo6,7, Jukka Jokimäki8, Raivo Mänd9, Gábor Markó10,11,12, Paweł Szymański13,*, Piotr Tryjanowski14

1Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud, Bâtiment 362, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France
2Center for Advanced Study, Drammensveien 78, 0271 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Biogeography and Global Change (BGC-MNCN-CSIC), National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, c/Serrano 155bis, 28006 Madrid, Spain
4Palacký University, Department of Zoology and Laboratory of Ornithology, 17. listopadu 50, 77146 Olomouc, Czech Republic
5Cypresvej 1, 9700 Brønderslev, Denmark
6Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands
7Department of Wetland Ecology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, C.S.I.C, Avda. Américo Vespucio s/n, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
8University of Lapland, Arctic Centre, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
9University of Tartu, Institute of Ecology & Earth Sciences, Department of Zoology, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
10MTA-ELTE-MTM, Ecology Research Group, 1117 Budapest, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/c, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
11Corvinus University of Budapest, Department of Plant Pathology, Ménesi út 44, 1118 Budapest, Hungary
12Eötvös Loránd University, Behavioral Ecology Group, Department of Systematics, Zoology and Ecology, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/c, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
13Department of Behavioural Ecology, Faculty of Biology of Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-114 Poznań, Poland
14Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Urban habitats differ from adjacent natural habitats in terms of disturbance regimes, light, temperature, rainfall, habitat distribution and resource abundance. Meteorological differences advance and prolong the growing season in urban habitats compared to nearby rural areas. In turn, urban bird populations may potentially start singing earlier, and reproduce earlier and more frequently than rural populations. However, this prediction has previously only been tested with data from single species using single spatial replicates from rural and urban sites. Here we provide the first general (paired urban and rural populations of 54 bird species) and large-scale (a 3800 km long latitudinal gradient across Europe) empirical evidence for longer and earlier singing periods in urban compared to rural habitats. Effects of urbanization on start and duration of the singing period (as a proxy for the breeding season) were positively related to size of cities and ecological characteristics of species. Bird species that have been urbanized for a long time started to sing earlier and had a more extended singing period in urban compared to rural habitats. We also found that the singing period started later and was shorter at higher latitudes. Geographical variation in phenology was related to temperature and rainfall, although differences between urban and rural habitats were not. Differences in duration of singing periods between paired urban and rural sites were as large as latitudinal differences between southern and northern Europe (5, 6 and 28 d for 3 common species, as compared to a mean latitudinal variation of 17.1 d). This suggests local adjustment to urban environments, either due to evolution or to plasticity of phenological behaviour.


KEY WORDS: Singing periods · Phenology · Population density · Urbanization


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Cite this article as: Møller AP, Díaz M, Grim T, Dvorská A and others (2015) Effects of urbanization on bird phenology: a continental study of paired urban and rural populations. Clim Res 66:185-199. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01344

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