Climate Change Scrambles Feeding For Nesting Birds

New research suggests that shifting seasons due to global warming have thrown the delicate timing of bird nesting and food availability out of whack, reports Bob Weber at the Ottawa Citizen. “Selection has favoured birds arriving at the perfect time, so they get there right at the peak of insect food, the big flush of all different kinds of insects we get in spring,” said lead author and university scientist Kevin Fraser, of the new study, published in the online journal PLOS One. But spring has been arriving earlier and earlier. Migrating martins, the study’s subjects, were found in 2012 to migrate later from the tropics than normal, arriving past their food peak at nesting sites. Some species of migratory birds that don’t roam as widely have been able to adjust their flight schedules, Fraser said. “It’s the long-distance migrants that are having trouble.” Purple martins may just be too far away to receive signals about conditions on their breeding range. The same issue may be affecting other bug-eating long-distance migrators, which are all suffering from population declines as large as three per cent annually.

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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One Response to Climate Change Scrambles Feeding For Nesting Birds

  1. Here in Illinois, it’s so terribly windy (almost every day); I don’t see how the birds can nest properly, but they seem to manage. (My attempts at macro photography are more difficult because of the constant roaring winds; insects and flowers are blowing all over the place! Today was another wild-windy “difficult” day.)

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