Bird Brains; When the Warm Get Going

Global climate change is a real, measurable phenomenon, according to a new study, based on the National Audubon Society’s North American Christmas Bird Count. It found that avian species have taken decades to adjust their ranges northward in response to warming winters.

Frank La Sorte, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,

in Ithaca, New York, and lead author of a study supported by the National Science Foundation, says in the Journal of Animal Ecology that because birds are highly mobile and migrate north and south with the changing seasons, they are better able to shift their ranges than less mobile, non-migrating species, such as amphibians.

“It makes sense that species move slower than the rate at which climate is changing,” says La Sorte. “Many of them need to follow a prey base and a type of vegetation, or they need certain kinds of habitat that will create corridors for movement. Species are responding under their own time frame.”

The challenge for humans is daunting. “We have to give species the opportunity to respond by providing corridors for movement and longterm maintenance of those corridors,” says La Sorte. “That requires cooperation across political boundaries.”

Source: ABC News

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