BIRDS STRUGGLE TO ADAPT

We are always appreciative when folks send us links to web articles related to wildlife conservation, particularly those focused on cranes, but also those about migratory birds. One such link came to us recently from Ontario resident and OM office volunteer George McCubbin.

Authored by Joel Boyce, the article is entitled, “Migratory Birds Struggle to Adapt to New Climate.” The article reports on the results of a Swedish survey.

Quoting… The 20 years of data collected on migratory birds…”suggests that European species have been adapting to warmer temperatures, but not enough. Set temperatures are approximately 250km (155 miles) more to the north than at the beginning of this period. What this means is that since average temperatures for a particular time of year are warmer throughout the continent, migratory routes should also adjust. Specifically, each species should be shortening its trips south during the winter, and spending their summers farther north than previously.”

The article goes on to say, “But what the Swedish group has discovered is that, although bird species have been moving northwards, they haven’t been adjusting their routes as quickly as the climate itself has been changing. In fact, they’ve only adjusted their wintering and summering spots by half the distance they should have in order to maintain the same living temperatures. The danger is that the health of the birds will be badly affected if they don’t learn to move to a better temperature range for their physical needs.”

Also notable are the ripple effects related to food sources and other factors. All very interesting given the short-stopping of their fall migration’s exhibited by the Wood Buffalo-Aransas and Eastern Migratory Populations this past season. What will also be interesting to see is whether or not the cranes will conclude their return migration at their usual summering grounds, or begin to seek more northerly habitats.

Click here to read the full article.

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