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Migrating birds are getting more out of sync with the environment

Cara J

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By altering when leaves come out in the spring, climate change throws birds’ migration schedules out of sync with the environment, hindering their ability to reproduce, rear offspring and survive. Although they’re trying to adapt, recent research suggests, songbird species keep falling behind the pace of change across North America. Eastern birds arrive at their breeding grounds too late, researchers found, and western birds arrive too early. “Climate change is causing the timing of spring green-up to shift and it’s also making it more variable and less predictable from year to year,” said Stephen Mayor, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida and lead author on the study published in Scientific Reports. “Birds are having trouble keeping up with that change, so they’re mistiming when they arrive to North America from their migrations.” Previous studies had found that this mismatch was increasing for individual species at specific sites, so Mayor and researchers from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Colorado, University of Connecticut, Illinois Natural History Survey, Evergreen College and Murdoch University in Australia decided to conduct a broader-scale investigation. Using satellite data on vegetation, the scientists estimated when green-up occurred throughout North America from 2001 to 2012. They [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/migrating-birds-are-getting-more-out-of-sync-with-the-environment/

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