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Variation in laying date in relation to spring temperature in three species of tits (Paridae) and pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca in southernmost Sweden

Author:
  • Hans Källander
  • Dennis Hasselquist
  • Anders Hedenström
  • Andreas Nord
  • Henrik G. Smith
  • Jan-Åke Nilsson
Publishing year: 2017-01
Language: English
Pages: 83-90
Publication/Series: Journal of Avian Biology
Volume: 48
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Abstract english

This study documents the advancement of laying dates in three species of tits (Paridae) in southernmost Sweden during recent decades, and the absence of a similar response in the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. It is based on several different nestbox studies; the oldest one starting in 1969. During 1969 to 2012, mean spring temperatures in the study area increased by between 0.06 and 0.08 °C per year, depending on the period considered. Great tits Parus major, blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus and marsh tits Poecile palustris, which generally start egg laying between the last week of April and the first week of May, all advanced laying date at a similar rate during the study period (0.25 days per year). This indicates that these species were similarly affected by increasing temperatures. When accounting for mean spring temperature variation, we still found an advancement of laying date over the study period, mostly due to such relationships among marsh and blue tits. This result could reflect ongoing microevolution favouring earlier laying, but could also be a result of other factors such as increased intra- or inter-specific competition for early breeding. Pied flycatchers, which generally lay during the third week of May, did not significantly advance the date of egg laying despite that the long-term trend in the increase in ambient temperature during the 30-day period preceding the start of egg laying was similar for pied flycatchers compared to the tit species.
This study documents the advancement of laying dates in three species of tits (Paridae) in southernmost Sweden during recent decades, and the absence of a similar response in the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. It is based on several different nestbox studies; the oldest one starting in 1969. During 1969 to 2012, mean spring temperatures in the study area increased by between 0.06 and 0.08°C per year, depending on the period considered. Great tits Parus major, blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus and marsh tits Poecile palustris, which generally start egg laying between the last week of April and the first week of May, all advanced laying date at a similar rate during the study period (0.25 d yr–1). This indicates that these species were similarly affected by increasing temperatures. When accounting for mean spring temperature variation, we still found an advancement of laying date over the study period, mostly due to such relationships among marsh and blue tits. This result could reflect ongoing microevolution favouring earlier laying, but could also be a result of other factors such as increased intra- or inter-specific competition for early breeding. Pied flycatchers, which generally lay during the third week of May, did not significantly advance the date of egg laying despite that the long-term trend in the increase in ambient temperature during the 30-d period preceding the start of egg laying was similar for pied flycatchers compared to the tit species.

Keywords

  • Zoology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • ornithology
  • birds
  • phenology
  • breeding start
  • reproduction
  • climate change
  • global warming
  • spring temperature

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 0908-8857
Henrik Smith
E-mail: henrik [dot] smith [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor

Biodiversity

+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56

E-C313

50

Director

Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC)

+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56

C313

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden