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Birds Are Trying To Adapt To Climate Change — But Is It Too Little, Too Late?

"Viktoriia Radchuk, an evolutionary ecologist at Berlin's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, wanted to know how animals were responding to climate change."

"So she scoured the results of more than 10,000 animal studies — on species from frogs to snakes, from insects to birds to mammals — looking for information on how changing environments were affecting animal behavior. Based on the available data, she decided to focus on birds in the Northern Hemisphere."

"As detailed in a new paper in Nature Communications, Radchuk and her co-authors found that many birds are adapting to climate change — but probably not fast enough. 'Which means, on average, these species are at risk of extinction,' she says."

"The data focused on common and abundant bird species, such as tits, song sparrows and magpies (which are also the most well documented in studies). They showed that some bird populations are breeding, laying eggs and migrating earlier, which makes them better prepared for earlier onsets of spring — a significant effect of climate change."

Radchuk explains that when temperatures warm, plants flower earlier, and insects also develop earlier.


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