The effects of hatching date on timing of autumn migration in partial migrants – an individual approach


K. Meller, The Finnish Museum of Natural History, Univ. of Helsinki, Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, FI-00100 Helsinki, Finland. E-mail:


Timing of spring migration and breeding and their interaction with climate change has been widely studied in recent years, but the possible changes in timing of autumn migration have gained less attention. This work focuses on autumn migration and provides the first multi-species individual-based study of how hatching date affects the autumn migration date and migration age by using nestling ring data and re-trappings of the same individuals during the autumn migration at the Hanko Bird Observatory, Finland. We studied three potentially multibrooded passerines (great tit, blue tit and coal tit) and two single-brooded birds of prey (goshawk, sparrowhawk), all partially migratory short-distance migrants. Individuals from late broods migrated at a younger age in all tit species and also in hawks the late hatched individuals tended to migrate at a younger age than the early-hatched individuals. Late-hatched individuals migrated later than early-hatched individuals in blue and coal tits, where the latest hatchers represented second brood individuals. Based on our results, the time from hatching to autumn migration is not constant even among individuals of the same population. Our study indicates that climate warming induced advancement of avian breeding may cause changes in the timing of autumn migration through the frequency of second broods.