Climate Change: Arctic ‘no safe harbour’ for breeding birds

Climate Change: Arctic ‘no safe harbour’ for breeding birds

SOURCE: BBC News DATE: November 9, 2018 SNIP: The Arctic is no longer the safe haven it once was for nesting birds, a new scientific report warns. Having nests raided by predators is a bigger threat for birds flocking to breed than in the past, it shows. This raises the risk of extinction for birds on Arctic shores, say researchers. They point to a link with climate change, which may be changing the behaviour and habitat of animals, such as foxes, which steal eggs. “We’re seeing the sad implication of climate change,” Prof Székely told BBC News, “because our data show that the impact of climate change is involved, driving increased nest predation among these shorebirds – sandpipers, plovers and the likes.” Shore birds breed on the ground; their eggs and offspring are exposed, where they can fall prey to predators such as snakes, lizards and foxes. Rates of daily nest predation in the Arctic have increased three-fold in the last 70 years. A two-fold increase was found in Europe, most of Asia and North America, while a smaller change was observed in the tropics and Southern...
Sheer Speed of Global Warming Is Decimating Birds, Say Scientists

Sheer Speed of Global Warming Is Decimating Birds, Say Scientists

SOURCE: Haaretz Israel News DATE: July 23, 2018 SNIP: Birds are twice as vulnerable to climate change as mammals, an international team of scientists has concluded after checking 481 species in 987 populations around the world. The vulnerability of the tiger and bald eagle get extensive press, but the fact is that most mammalian and avian populations have been declining for decades. There are myriad causes, but a chief one turns out to be the sheer speed at which climate change is progressing. Simply, they can’t adjust fast enough, concludes the report published by the Zoological Society of London on Monday, in the journal Global Change Biology. The scientists wanted to check how the double whammy of climate change and human encroachment affects birds and mammals. What they found is that climate change matters more, and especially to birds. That absolutely does not mean human encroachment, and habitat devastation, aren’t huge problems, the team clarifies. They are. They confined their examination to land-use and climate. But clearly the changes happening so rapidly to the planet are more than many species can cope with, even if their favorite tree is still there. One problem birds have is that their mating season is triggered by temperature changes, explains lead author Fiona Spooner. “We think this could be leading to a desynchronization of their reproduction cycle, leading to the negative impacts we’re seeing. Mammal breeding seasons are a lot more flexible, and this is reflected in the data,” she...
Canary in the Climate Mine: Arctic Seabird’s Future Is on Thin Ice

Canary in the Climate Mine: Arctic Seabird’s Future Is on Thin Ice

SOURCE: NewsDeeply DATE: November 8, 2017 SNIP: One of the Arctic’s most important storytellers in the age of climate change can now foresee how the story might end. Since 1975, when seabird biologist George Divoky discovered black guillemots nesting on Cooper Island, an uninhabited strip of land 5 miles (8km) offshore near Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska, he has returned every summer to observe them. For years, he’s watched the colony decline. Now he’s worried about its collapse. Global warming is a story built around data, small and fluctuating environmental changes that add up to a bigger picture over decades. The world accepted that the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration was increasing only after Charles Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography began taking consistent measurements in the 1950s, barely scraping together enough funds at first for work that is foundational today. In the more than 40 summers that Divoky, a researcher who received a PhD at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, has spent on Cooper Island, alone in a tent and later in a cabin, he was also cobbling together a global-warming narrative, although he didn’t know it for a long time. … Friends of Cooper...
Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate

Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate

SOURCE: CarbonBrief DATE: Aug 8, 2017 SNIP: Migrating birds might not be able to fly home fast enough to meet shifts in springtime in Europe driven by climate change, new research suggests. Flying back too early or too late for spring is costly for birds. Their arrival must coincide with the emergence of food sources, such as caterpillars, in order to enable them to feed and successfully rear their young. Birds that overwinter in warmer climes, including willow warblers, tree pipits and barn swallows, will be unable to cut their migrations short as climate change causes spring to arrive earlier in many parts of Europe, researchers find. This new evidence suggests that birds are much less adaptable to climate change than previously hoped, another scientist tells Carbon...
Huge Puffin Die-Off May Be Linked to Hotter Seas

Huge Puffin Die-Off May Be Linked to Hotter Seas

SOURCE: National Geographic DATE: November 8, 2016 SNIP: “The Bering Sea has been off-the-charts warm,” said Nate Mantua, an ecologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. “We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re in uncharted territory. We’re in the midst of an extraordinary time.” Several hundred birds have now washed up, nearly 200 times the normal rate. And since St. Paul and its rocky sister island, St. George, are the only land masses anywhere nearby, scientists are certain they’re seeing just a tiny fraction of the deaths. “In 10 years of monitoring, we’ve only seen six puffins wash in—total,” said Julia Parrish, a University of Washington professor who coordinates a West Coast volunteer bird-monitoring network. “Now we’ve seen nearly 250 in 20 days. And these islands are small dots in the middle of a huge ocean. The entire puffin population is only 6,000 birds, and we project half that many may be affected.” Parrish said the birds—deep-diving fish eaters that chow on forage fish, such as baby walleye pollock—aren’t sick. Scientists see no evidence of disease. The animals are just in such an advanced state of starvation “they appear to be eating themselves inside...