Changes in the timing of bird migration in spring and autumn in a coastal forest near the city of Niigata, central Honshu, Japan, were analyzed based on 27 years of bird-banding records. Half of the bird species studied, including all migratory types except residents, arrived or departed significantly earlier in spring due to an increase in spring temperatures. The rate of change we observed in spring migration timing due to changes in temperature was identical to or slightly greater than those reported in studies from other countries. The spring arrival of the Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina and the Japanese Thrush Turdus cardis, both long-distance summer migrants to the nearby mountains, became earlier (advanced), however, for reasons that remained unclear. Median capture date in autumn was significantly associated with year for five species. Of these, the median capture date of the Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus, a resident and wandering bird, and the Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala, a wandering bird, advanced annually, while for the Japanese Robin Luscinia akahige and two other species (all long-distance migrants), it was delayed. We hypothesize that forest succession from a simple pine forest to a mixed forest with well-developed sub-canopy and shrub layers may have strongly influenced the Japanese White-eye and the Black-faced Bunting due to changes in population structure in the study area, resulting in an earlier median autumn capture date. Forest succession may also have influenced the Japanese Robin's food resources, enabling it to stay longer in the study area and resulting in a delay in autumn departure date. Thus, changes in bird migration timing differ according to different environmental factors in spring and autumn.
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Vol. 19 • No. 1