Royal Society Publishing

Climate change has affected the breeding date of tree swallows throughout North America

Peter O Dunn, David W Winkler

Abstract

Increasing evidence suggests that climate change has affected the breeding and distribution of wildlife. If such changes are due to global warming, then we should expect to see large‐scale effects. To explore for such effects on avian reproduction, we examined 3450 nest records of tree swallows from across North America. The egg‐laying date in tree swallows advanced by up to nine days during 1959 to 1991. This advance in phenology was associated with increasing surface air temperatures at the time of breeding. Our analysis controlled for several potentially confounding variables such as latitude, longitude, breeding density and elevation.We conclude that tree swallows across North America are breeding earlier and that the most likely cause is a long‐term increase in spring temperature

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