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Climate change causes shift in American bird ranges

mongabay.com – January 16, 2008

Birds are an extremely good indicator of the effects of man and climate on nature. Due to their ability to travel significant distances, they can accommodate and adapt to changing influences on their lives. Other animals that are bound by feet or fin are much less able to move. Even this free movement though is limited by instinct of returning to the same place for breeding or raising young.

This study is good to read because it appears to be rather wide ranging. It also tries to find true causality between human destruction of habitat and change of climate. Of course this study doesn’t try to get into the primary cause of climate change but rather its possible effects.

Breeding ranges of North American birds have shifted northward coinciding with a period of increasing global temperatures, ….


Studying the breeding ranges of 56 species of arboreal and semiarboreal birds using data collected by … researchers … sought to determine whether factors including population expansions and land-use changes other than climate that might explain the observed range shift.


Were bird ranges expanding both northward and southward, … then the data would suggest that the birds were simply expanding their ranges. … “found that the birds’ ranges were only expanding northward leading to the conclusion that climate change might be responsible for the shift in range,” ….


… prey or habitats that birds rely on for survival may not be able to adapt so easily.

You can read the full mongabay.com report here.

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