U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Scientific Reports, 7:40339, DOI: 10.1038/srep40339


U.S. Government Work


Spring migration phenology of birds has advanced under warming climate. Migration timing of shortdistance migrants is believed to be responsive to environmental changes primarily under exogenous control. However, understanding the ecological causes of the advancement in avian spring migration phenology is still a challenge due to the lack of long-term precise location data. We used 11 years of Global Positioning System relocation data to determine four different migration dates of the annual migration cycle of the American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), a short-distance migrant. We also tested the hypothesis that increases in winter temperature and precipitation on the wintering grounds would advance pelican spring migration. Pelican spring departures and arrivals advanced steadily from 2002 to 2011. Spring departure timing exhibited high repeatability at the upper end of migration timing repeatability reported in literature. However, individual spring departure and arrival dates were not related to winter daily temperature, total winter precipitation, and detrended vegetation green-up dates indexed by the normalized difference vegetation index. Despite high repeatability, the observed between-year variation of spring departure dates was still sufficient for the advancement of spring departure timing.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons