Long-term trends in spring arrival dates of migrant birds at Delta Marsh, Manitoba, in relation to climate change

Thumbnail Image
Murphy-Klassen, HM
Underwood, TJ
Sealy, SG
Czyrnyj, AA
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
We examined a 63-year data set of dates of first spring sightings for 96 species of migrant birds at Delta Marsh, Manitoba, and considered the influence of local climate change on those arrival dates. Mean monthly spring temperatures increased (0.6-3.8 degrees C) for all four months considered; however, trends for February and March were stronger than those for April and May. Over the 63-year period, 27 species significantly altered their arrival dates. Most of those species arrived significantly earlier; whereas only two species, Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) and Lesser Yellowlegs (T. flavipes), arrived significantly later over time. About half of the migrants showed significant relationships between arrival dates and mean temperature for their month of arrival. Fifteen species showed significantly earlier arrivals over time and a significant relationship between arrival date and temperature. We also characterized migrants by taxon, breeding status, and wintering location to determine whether there were any trends for altered arrivals within certain groups. Waterfowl, species that breed at Delta Marsh, and short-distance migrants showed slightly higher incidences of advancing arrival dates compared with other groups. Our results provide evidence that climate warming has influenced spring migration arrival dates of several species in Manitoba.
DUNE-RIDGE FOREST, TREE SWALLOWS, TACHYCINETA-BICOLOR, NORTH-AMERICA, 1ST ARRIVAL, MIGRATION, PHENOLOGY, POPULATION, EARLIER, TEMPERATURES, climate change, long-distance migrants, long-term study, Manitoba, short-distance migrants, spring arrivals
AUK, OCT 2005, vol. 122, no. 4, p. 1130-1148.