Climate change causing birds to migrate early

Bird migration is the regular season movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. (Gerry Penny/EPA)
Jake Slobe  January 11, 2017

Migrating birds are responding to the effects of climate change by arriving at their breeding grounds earlier as global temperatures rise, a new study has found.

The University of Edinburgh study looked at hundreds of species across five continents and found that birds are reaching their summer breeding grounds on average about one day earlier per degree of increasing global temperature.

The main reason birds migrate is the changing seasonal temperatures and food availability. Reaching their summer breeding grounds at the wrong time – even by a few days – may cause birds to miss out on maximum availability of vital resources such as food and nesting places.

Late arrival to breeding grounds may, in turn, affect the timing of offspring hatching and their chances of survival.

They hope their study  will help scientists better predict how different species will respond to environmental changes. .


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