Birds are among the first responders to climate change, often having clearly observable phenological responses to less perceptible levels of climate shift. Declines in populations of a number of bird species have been witnessed both in the United States and abroad, with up to a 48% decline in grassland birds of the Central U.S. Understanding changes in bird abundance and distribution is essential because birds supply a wide variety of critical ecosystem services, including pollination and pest control. While the effects of climate change on many bird species’ phenology have been studied intensely, research on the family Icteridae is limited. This study was conducted using spring bird presence and absence data and weather data from Oak Lake Field Station from 1995 to 2012. Linear regression analysis was applied against warmth sum days for the 30 days prior to each spring bird survey. Our analysis demonstrated significant increases in accumulated warmth sum days between 1999 and 2012 (P = 0.01). Icterid species richness also increased with increasing warmth sum days during the month leading up to surveys (P = 0.02). Trends in both habitat (open woodland, marsh, and grassland) and feeding guild (insectivores and omnivores) species richness were also observed with increasing warmth sum days. These findings suggest a shift towards earlier spring arrival of members of the family Icteridae in eastern South Dakota.
Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science
South Dakota Academy of Science
In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Bedford, Kelsey; Burkard, Nicole; Crider, Brandi; Barnett, Emma; and Troelstrup, N. H. Jr., "Effects of Climate Change on Phenology of Blackbirds and Orioles (Icterids) in Eastern South Dakota" (2013). Oak Lake Field Station Research Publications. 5.