Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Birds migrate earlier, but some may be left behind as the climate warms rapidly

23.06.2008
Many birds are arriving earlier each spring as temperatures warm along the East Coast of the United States. However, the farther those birds journey, the less likely they are to keep pace with the rapidly changing climate.

Scientists at Boston University and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences analyzed changes in the timing of spring migrations of 32 species of birds along the coast of eastern Massachusetts since 1970. Researchers at Manomet gathered this data by capturing birds in mist nets, attaching bands to their legs, and then releasing them.

Their findings, published in Global Change Biology, show that eight out of 32 bird species are passing by Cape Cod significantly earlier on their annual trek north than they were 38 years ago. The reason? Warming temperatures. Temperatures in eastern Massachusetts have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1970.

Species, such as the swamp sparrow, that winter in the southern United States are generally keeping pace with warming temperatures and earlier leafing of trees. They migrate earlier when temperatures are warm and later when spring is cool.

Birds that winter further south, like the great crested flycatcher, which spends its winters in South America, are slow to change, though. Their migration times are not changing, despite the warming temperatures in New England.

There appears to be good reason for the difference between the short- and long-distance migrants. Because temperatures are linked along much of the East Coast of the United States—an early spring in North Carolina is generally an early spring in Massachusetts—the short-distance migrants can gain insight into when it will be warm further north. They can follow the flush of leaves and insects all the way to their breeding grounds each year. Long-distance migrants, though, do not have any good cue for whether it will be an early or late spring on the northern stretches of their migrations. Weather in South America has little to do with weather in New England.

Being slow to change in response to warming temperatures could have serious repercussions for long-distance migrant birds. This same research group has shown that plants are blooming earlier in Massachusetts than they did in the past. It appears that the short-distance migrants are keeping pace with this changing environment.

However, long-distance migrants are being left behind; as temperatures continue to warm, they will probably experience environments increasingly different from the ones for which they are adapted. Other researchers have already noted that some long-distance migrant birds returning from African wintering areas to breed in Europe are now mistimed with their insect food supply. The inability of some birds to adapt to rapid climate change may be an important factor in some of the declines among songbird populations that have been documented in recent years.

Lucy Mansfield | alfa
Further information:
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01619.x?prevSearch=allfield%3A%28miller-rushing%29

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>