Presentation Title

Does Climate Change Have an Impact on the Migration Timeline of Vaux’s Swifts?

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Vaux's Swift, from the family Apodidae, are the smallest swifts in North America. In the spring, swifts travel north to their breeding grounds in southwestern Canada through the northwestern United States. During fall, the swifts migrate through the western United States to their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central America, and northern Venezuela. In migration, large flocks of this species can be observed circling roosting sites at dusk, seeking shelter. Distributions of birds are limited by climatic factors including temperature, precipitation, and wind. The timing of bird migration is critical to the overall health of the bird species. If they arrive too soon or too late, they may die or may not produce as many young.

Using citizen acquired data from E-bird and Vaux’s happening, we will track the swift’s spring and fall migration timeline via roosting site observations. We will then compare the data with previous years to determine whether the bird’s timeline has deviated. We will also look at the temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and gust speed of the sites during the peak migration time and three weeks prior, to determine if those variables had a significant effect on the migration chronology. We expect to view the swifts migrating earlier in the spring and later in the fall, in conjunction with the rising temperatures of the planet. We believe that precipitation will also have a significant effect on migration times, due to its effect on plant growth, soil moisture, water storage and insect abundance.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Matthew Reudink

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Does Climate Change Have an Impact on the Migration Timeline of Vaux’s Swifts?

Vaux's Swift, from the family Apodidae, are the smallest swifts in North America. In the spring, swifts travel north to their breeding grounds in southwestern Canada through the northwestern United States. During fall, the swifts migrate through the western United States to their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central America, and northern Venezuela. In migration, large flocks of this species can be observed circling roosting sites at dusk, seeking shelter. Distributions of birds are limited by climatic factors including temperature, precipitation, and wind. The timing of bird migration is critical to the overall health of the bird species. If they arrive too soon or too late, they may die or may not produce as many young.

Using citizen acquired data from E-bird and Vaux’s happening, we will track the swift’s spring and fall migration timeline via roosting site observations. We will then compare the data with previous years to determine whether the bird’s timeline has deviated. We will also look at the temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and gust speed of the sites during the peak migration time and three weeks prior, to determine if those variables had a significant effect on the migration chronology. We expect to view the swifts migrating earlier in the spring and later in the fall, in conjunction with the rising temperatures of the planet. We believe that precipitation will also have a significant effect on migration times, due to its effect on plant growth, soil moisture, water storage and insect abundance.