Most serious birdwatchers can tell you about global warming and climate change, just from watching the birds at their feeders, and when those birds migrate.
Now comes a study to confirm with data and controlled observation what the birders have been saying all along. Phys.org reported:
Scientists have shown for the first time that common bird populations are responding to climate change in a similar pronounced way in both Europe and the USA.
An international team of researchers led by Durham University, UK, found that populations of bird species expected to do well due to climate change had substantially outperformed those expected to do badly over a 30 year period from 1980 to 2010.
The research, conducted in collaboration with the RSPB and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is published in the journal Science.
It is the first real demonstration that climate is having a similar, large-scale influence on the abundance of common birds in widely separated parts of the world, the researchers said.
Among the species showing pronounced effects of climate change are common woodland and garden birds such as the wren, in Europe, and the American robin in the USA.
Biologists especially work to predict effects of warming on plants and animals, both to help plan changes in activities such as farming and hunting, and to protect species that are endangered now, or are likely to become so due to changing climate factors.
This study shows scientists can predict with accuracy some of the wildlife effects.
These changes are consistent with changing climate suitability within those areas, the researchers said.
Other factors, such as the size of the birds, the habitats they live in and their migratory behaviour, all affect bird populations, but did not differ systematically between groups advantaged or disadvantaged by climate change.
Therefore, only climate change could explain the differences between average population trends in advantaged and disadvantaged groups, the researchers said.
The study’s lead authors, Dr Stephen Willis and Dr Philip Stephens, of Durham University’s School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, said the findings showed there was a large-scale, consistent response by bird populations to climate change on two continents.
The study was published in the April 1, 2016 issue of Science, “Consistent response of bird populations to climate change on two continents.”
Tip of the old scrub brush to Svein T veitdal: