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Cara J

Climate change has birds migrating earlier

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Climate change has pushed migratory birds to take their spring trips a week earlier than they did six decades ago. According to a large-scale analysis of data gathered by 21 bird observatories from northern Europe and Canada on nearly 200 species, birds have advanced the timing of their migration by an average of just over a week since the late 1950s and early 1960s. Short-distance migratory birds have sped up the start of their migrations by 1.5 to two days per decade on average. Long-distance migrants start 0.6 to 1.2 days earlier. “There are clearly some species which have advanced very fast and other species which have changed hardly at all,” says Aleksi Lehikoinen, an academic research fellow at the University of Helsinki’s Finnish Museum of Natural History and the lead author of a study published in Ecological Indicators. While the birds have timed their migrations a week earlier on average to cope with warmer weather due to climate change, Lehikoinen said, this varies within migration season of species. Early migrants, for example, are more likely to have sped up their spring migrations compared to later migrants of the same species, which haven’t changed their habits as much on average. While [...]

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