Data from: Linking phenological events in migratory passerines with a changing climate: 50 years in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania
McDermott, Molly E.; DeGroote, Lucas W. (2018), Data from: Linking phenological events in migratory passerines with a changing climate: 50 years in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.md712
Advanced timing of both seasonal migration and reproduction in birds has been strongly associated with a warming climate for many bird species. Phenological responses to climate linking these stages may ultimately impact fitness. We analyzed five decades of banding data from 17 migratory bird species to investigate 1) how spring arrival related to timing of breeding, 2) if the interval between arrival and breeding has changed with increasing spring temperatures, and 3) whether arrival timing or breeding timing best predicted local productivity. Four of 17 species, all mid- to long-distance migrants, hatched young earlier in years when migrants arrived earlier to the breeding grounds (~1:1 day advancement). The interval between arrival on breeding grounds and appearance of juveniles shortened with warmer spring temperatures for 12 species (1-6 days for every 1ºC increase) and over time for seven species (1-8 days per decade), suggesting that some migratory passerines adapt to climate change by laying more quickly after arrival or reducing the time from laying to fledging. We found more support for the former, that the rate of reproductive advancement was higher than that for arrival in warm years. Timing of spring arrival and breeding were both poor predictors of avian productivity for most migrants analyzed. Nevertheless, we found evidence that fitness benefits may occur from shifts to earlier spring arrival for the multi-brooded Song Sparrow. Our results uniquely demonstrate that co-occurring avian species are phenologically plastic in their response to climate change on their breeding grounds. If migrants continue to show a weaker response to temperatures during migration than breeding, and the window between arrival and optimal breeding shortens further, biological constraints to plasticity may limit the ability of species to adapt successfully to future warming.