Document Type


Publication Date




Intraspecific patterns of autumn migration timing are not well known, particularly in the western United States. Here, we (1) describe autumn migration timing and age ratios of landbird migrants in southwestern Idaho, (2) examine differences in timing among age and sex classes, and (3) demonstrate how prebasic molt strategies affect migration timing differences between age classes. As a group, Neotropical migrants were most common from late July through early September, whereas temperate migrants were most common from mid-September into early October. Proportion of hatch-year birds was 74.5% for all migrants combined and ranged from 33.3% to 100% for individual species. Timing differences between sex classes were detected in only a few species and no general patterns emerged. In 22 of 31 Neotropical and temperate migrants examined, there were significant differences in timing between adults and hatch-year birds. In species in which adults begin fall migration before replacing flight feathers, adults migrated earlier than hatch-year birds. Conversely, in species in which adults molt flight feathers on or near the breeding grounds before departing on fall migration, hatch-year birds migrated earlier than adults in all but one case. Therefore, it appears that molt strategy is a powerful determinant of intraspecific migration timing differences and, to our knowledge, this is the first study to document this pattern among migrant passerines of North America.

Copyright Statement

Published as "Molt Strategies and Age Differences in Migration Timing Among Autumn Landbird Migrants in Southwestern Idaho" in The Auk 122(4):1070-1085. © 2005 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on Caliber ( or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center, DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[1070:MSAADI]2.0.CO;2