New Study Says Birds’ Bodies Are Being Affected by Climate Change

On Jan. 22, the New York Times ran an article headlined “New Study Says Changes in Birds’ Bodies Are Sign of Climate Change.” Unlike the dramatic change being witnessed in the sea around the world, however, which is happening one teaspoon of change per year, changing birds’ bodies over time due to climate change can have a decidedly unsettling effect. Certain bird species are being affected by it much more than others.

“The current study,” reported the Times, “says bird populations are adjusting their breeding habits and staying closer to places where they might need to drink before dawn for a water rescue.”

The study, which was published this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, “identified 39 populations of birds that have shown major changes in their water behavior. The findings will help scientists and policymakers identify areas that could be most impacted by climate change.”

In fact, bird seasons of which we’re particularly familiar, like spring nesting and breeding, were found to be changing in some way. “Air temperatures during the breeding season have risen by about 8.5 degrees Celsius during the last 2,000 years,” the authors wrote. “During our study, shifts in spring nesting and spring breeding time in the Arctic seemed to be influenced by climate change.”

Within that, they looked at how that affected some of the world’s most abundant bird species, which are so small that there’s not even a whole lot of data on them. Aside from shifting breeding times, the authors also looked at what sort of behavior that could have on their populations. They noticed that water intake was making an adjustment of up to 5 times that of human populations.

The authors’ conclusion, then, is that the changing planet can and does interfere with the habits of nature. In this case, no one can see it, but it’s there.

Read the full article at The New York Times.


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