Consistent delay in recent timing of passerine autumn migration



phenology, bird migration, passerine migration, autumn migration, climate change


Climate change affects important biological processes, bird migration phenology being a particular well-documented one. While spring migration have been found to advance by numerous studies, autumn migration is less studied and show more variable change in timing. Few studies of autumn migration are based on data from after 2000, leaving the last two decades to be relatively less studied. Here, we investigate recent change in autumn migration phenology of European passerines. The most recent available bird ringing data from Denmark is used to analyse phenological change of median and late migration of 14 passerine migrants between 2003–2021. We find an overall delay of autumn migration, mainly driven by short-distance migrants. All short-distance migrants, one out of five medium-distance and three out of five long-distance migrants delay autumn migration. None of the included species advance autumn migration significantly. As climate change has continuously resulted in milder conditions in north-western Europe, we expect this to cause further effects on migration phenology also in recent decades. Our results provide novel insight into recent migration phenology trends, and the observed delay in long-distance migrants may illustrate a changed response to climate change.

Research articles


2024-01-28 — Updated on 2024-02-20


How to Cite

Søderdahl, A. S., & Tøttrup, A. P. (2024). Consistent delay in recent timing of passerine autumn migration. Ornis Fennica, 100(4), 159–169. (Original work published January 28, 2024)