Does early spring arrival lead to early nesting in a migratory shorebird? Insights from remote tracking

Nightingale, Josh, Gill, Jennifer A., Gunnarsson, Tómas G., Rocha, Afonso R., Howison, Ruth A., Hooijmeijer, Jos C. E. W., Piersma, Theunis and Alves, José A. (2024) Does early spring arrival lead to early nesting in a migratory shorebird? Insights from remote tracking. Ibis, 166 (2). pp. 424-439. ISSN 0019-1019

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Advancing breeding phenology is a commonly observed response to climate warming among bird species, potentially in response to shifts in the phenology of key resources. However, for migratory birds breeding at high latitudes, their capacity to breed earlier may be constrained by the time available between arrival on the breeding grounds and nesting, especially for later-arriving individuals. This may have consequences for productivity, as early laying is often linked to higher breeding success, particularly in such seasonal environments. We investigated how migratory arrival timing influences subsequent timing of breeding, in particular whether the time between arrival and laying (arrival–laying gap) varies with arrival date, and if later-arriving individuals are able to catch up with early-arriving conspecifics. We tracked individual Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa islandica with GPS and PTT tags for one to two complete breeding seasons between 2013 and 2022. After arrival in Iceland, most Godwits visited their breeding territory within 5 days, though this interval was longer for earlier-arriving birds. The total gap between arrival and laying was also longer for earlier-arriving birds, such that laying date did not vary significantly with arrival date. These results suggest that, despite individual consistency in migratory phenology, subsequent timing of nesting is probably influenced by other factors, such as mate arrival timing and/or annual variation in environmental conditions. Regular pre-nesting visits to the breeding territory may indicate that Godwits are able to monitor such factors closely and to nest early when conditions allow, but a larger sample of individuals and years is needed to assess whether early-arriving individuals contribute disproportionately to population-level advances in breeding phenology. Widespread tracking with high temporal and spatial resolution helps improve our understanding of phenological variation during the breeding season and its consequences for productivity and variation in juvenile phenology.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Avian Reproduction Special Issue Funding Information: Financial support from national funds was provided by FCT/MCTES to CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020+ LA/P/0094/2020) and to J.N. (PD/BD/139726/2018 and COVID/BD/152647/2022). Funding was provided by NWO‐ALW TOP grant Shorebirds in space (854.11.004) awarded to T.P., the Kenniskring weidevogels of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Food Safety (2007–2010, 2012, 2016); the Province of Fryslân (2013–2016); and the Spinoza Premium 2014 of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded to T.P.
Uncontrolled Keywords: bio-logging,migration,nest survival,phenology,reproduction,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,animal science and zoology,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2023 09:30
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 10:30
DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13268


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