Research shows the birds are re-locating to more comfortable grounds due to global warming.
A new study just released says changing climate conditions are causing species of birds to play “musical chairs” with their habitats as they seek out different areas of the world for their winter homes, according to the Washington Post.
The study, undertaken by a team of researchers from the Durham University in England, with assistance from the United States Geological Survey, says it is the first real demonstration that the climate is having large-scale influence on animals across the globe.
The researchers cite the American robin as an example, noting that populations that winter in the southern states are declining, while increasing in the northern states, that once were considered by the birds as too cold. They also report European wrens are moving their winter grounds from southern Europe into northern areas that they found in the past to be too uncomfortable.
Stephen Willis, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the university’s School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, said the team’s findings indicate a new climate impact for biodiversity. “The same approach could also be applied to species such as bees, butterflies and dragonflies, which are well monitored and highly susceptible to changes in climate,” he continued.
Previous research from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service agrees with the findings of the new study. They projected the oriole, long an inhabitant of the Baltimore area, and mascot to the baseball team, may be forced out of the area entirely within the next 30 years, due to warming temperatures.
As the animals home areas warm and dry out, they will need to move to more suitable areas or perish, according to a study from the National Audubon Society from two years ago. In that study, 588 species were studied and the report estimated 125 would be forced to abandon half of their current range.
Global temperatures from December of 2015 through February of this year recorded the highest departure from average for any three-month period, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. February was over two degrees higher than the average for the 20th century.
Findings from the most recent study, which looked at climate records from 1980 through 2010, and 145 bird species in Europe and 380 in America, can be found in the journal Science.