How consistent are trends in arrival (and departure) dates of migrant birds in the UK?

Sparks, T. H.; Huber, K.; Bland, R. L.; Crick, H. Q. P.; Croxton, P. J.; Flood, J.; Loxton, R. J.; Mason, C. F.; Newnham, J. A.; Tryjanowski, P.. 2007 How consistent are trends in arrival (and departure) dates of migrant birds in the UK? Journal of Ornithology, 148. 503-511.

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We examine the first arrival and last departure dates of migrant bird species from, respectively, six and three English area bird reports. Of all 145 bird series, 50% demonstrated significantly earlier arrival in recent years with the average advance over all species being 0.25 days/year or 12 days earlier over 50 years. 30% of 67 series demonstrated significantly later departure, with the average species delay being 0.16 days/year or 8 days later over 50 years. There was greater consistency between species in trends in first arrival than in last departure, with species such as sand martin Riparia riparia significantly earlier at all six sites while, for example, spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata showed no significant change in arrival at all sites. Significant negative correlations between arrival dates and English temperatures were found for 26% of all series but temperature effects on departures were less clear. We provide some evidence that trends in arrival dates may be masked by population declines in birds. Since migrant bird populations are in decline generally this may suggest that the real advance in arrival dates may be greater than that reported here.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > CC01A Detection and Attribution of Change in UK and European Ecosystems > CC01.3 UK Phenology Network
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 0021-8375
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The original publication is available at
Additional Keywords: County bird reports, phenology, migration, climate change
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 09 Oct 2007 12:20 +0 (UTC)

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