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Relationship between laying dates of black kites Milvus migrans and spring temperatures in Italy: rapid response to climate change?

TitleRelationship between laying dates of black kites Milvus migrans and spring temperatures in Italy: rapid response to climate change?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSergio, F
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Page range144-149
Call Number700GZ
Abstract

Many Holarctic bird species have been shown to be laying progressively earlier in response to global warming . Most studies have been conducted on small-bodied species at northern latitudes. In Italy, black kite Milvus migrans populations are concentrated near large pre-Alpine lakes, whose water temperatures have been increasing steadily in recent decades. Annual black kite laying dates have become 10-11 days earlier during the last nine years. Such a shift was related to temporal variations in spring air temperatures, with earlier laying in warmer springs. The progressive advancement in laying dates was not associated with an increase in population level productivity, despite the fact that productivity declined with laying date at the individual territory level within years. Avian response to climate change may be occurring more rapidly than previously thought, even in relatively long lived species, and not only at the most northern latitudes or highest elevations. Because this change has occurred so rapidly, and because laying dates match annual variations in spring temperatures, the response must be facultatively driven by prevailing conditions, rather than genetic in response to natural selection.