Migration and wintering of Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) in southeastern Hungary

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Abstract

The Fieldfare is a bird species widely distributed in the Palearctic region. In Hungary, the species is considered as a rare breeder and common, sometimes abundant migrant in autumn and spring, and also as winter visitor. It is prone to invasion, since northern breeding populations leave the breeding sites in large numbers only when the available food is inadequate or inaccessible to the birds. Most populations follow a southern-southwestern migration pattern, and in the course of their movement they also migrating through the Carpathian Basin. In this study, we examined the migration and wintering of the species in an area of southeast Hungary between 2004 and 2019. Data were collected between the beginning of October and the middle of April and during that period we saw Fieldfares a total of 416 times. In addition to the description of migration, the effect of weather on bird numbers was also investigated. According to our results, the species appears in the area in October and disappears in late March and the first half of April. The individuals that migrate in October are likely belonging to the Central European breeding population, while from November the Scandinavian birds can be seen. The maximum number of birds observed during the different years showed significant differences, as did the patterns of movements within the seasons. The relationship between the local weather and the number of birds has been demonstrated over several seasons, which is typical of species with an escape migration.

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