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Wind and rain change breeding patterns for swallows


Cara J

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Fewer storms that bring wind and rain may be causing North American tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) to lay their eggs earlier in the spring, according to new research. The impacts of this early egg laying isn’t known, but the trend points to what researchers say is an overlooked effect of climate change. Many studies look at the effects of warming temperatures on wildlife, but these researchers took into account the effects that less wind and rain in central Alaska have on the birds. “In spring when the birds are doing their business, their habitat is not warmer at all,” said Daniel Doak, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and the senior author on the recent study that his undergraduate student led. “It’s a weak trend. But the storminess trend is very strong.” Eggs and a newly hatched tree swallow chick at one of the Alaskan field sites. ©Merdyth Duncan As part of their study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers looked at data collected on swallows in two study sites in central Alaska over the past 15 years.  The swallows are an extremely resilient species, Doak said, which makes them easy to study. “They’re [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/wind-and-rain-change-breeding-patterns-for-swallows/

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