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Migratory bird phenology in a changing climate

Cara J

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The timing of key life events (phenology) is a critical part of nearly every important ecological relationship. Nowhere is this more evident than in the annual cycle of migratory birds: bird migration, breeding, and nesting are timed every spring to coincide with the peak availability of critical food sources in a delicate synchronization that occurs across large latitudinal gradients and diverse habitats. This synchrony between birds and key resources helps to ensure that birds survive migration and successfully reproduce. Of the many ways in which climate change affects wildlife, changes in phenology is one of the most ubiquitous. As temperatures warm and precipitation patterns change, many species of plants, insects, and birds have advanced important phenological events. Plants are putting out leaves earlier, insects are emerging sooner, and many birds have advanced the timing of their migration. These changes have been observed for many decades and across different habitat types, although impacts vary between species. While the phenology of birds, their habitats, and their food sources are all generally advancing in response to climate change, they are not always doing so at the same rate.  Birds and the species with which they interact (including their food sources, predators, and competitors) [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/migratory-bird-phenology-in-a-changing-climate/

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