Weather is of major importance for the population dynamics of birds, but the implications of climate change have only recently begun to be addressed. There is already compelling evidence that birds have been affected by recent climate changes. This review suggests that although there is a substantial body of evidence for changes in the phenology of birds, particularly of the timing of migration and of nesting, the consequences of these responses for a species’ population dynamics is still an area requiring in-depth research. The potential for phenological miscuing (responding inappropriately to climate change, including a lack of response) and for phenological disjunction (in which a bird species becomes out of synchrony with its environment) are beginning to be demonstrated, and are also important areas for further research. The study of climatically induced distributional change is currently at a predictive modelling stage, and will need to develop methods for testing these predictions. Overall, there is a range of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that could potentially inhibit adaptation to climate change and these are a high priority for research.