Local weather, food resources and breeding stage influence Thrush Nightingale movement

Insectivorous migrants breeding at northern latitudes often time the breeding period with the seasonal peak of food resources. Whether this general pattern transfers to movement behaviour during the breeding season requires detailed study from a local perspective. We investigated fine-scale environmental correlates of movements by six actively-breeding adult Thrush Nightingales (Luscinia luscinia) at a breeding site in Denmark, using radio tracking and multiple regression models. Overall, the chick-rearing period coincided with the peak of vegetation greenness at the site. Adults flew further from nesting areas during table weather and as vegetation greenness decreased. Adults were more active at higher environmental temperatures and when fledglings were older but still dependent on adults. These changes in local movements likely reflect adjustments to chick developmental needs and to specific local environmental conditions, including resource availability.