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Friday, April 17, 2009

Warblers at risk of longer journeys.

According to research published in the Journal of Biogeography climate change could have a dramatic impact on small migrant birds.

Apparently warming could mean that small species of Warbler (like whitethroat and blackcap) could have fly up to 250-300 miles further to reach breeding grounds.

Warming means that the birds will have to move further north, this could have a dramatic affect on the Whitethroat that already travel over 3000 miles.

One of the researchers Dr Stephen Willis of Durham University said:
Most warblers come here in spring and summer time to take advantage of the surplus of insects, and leave for warmer climes in the autumn.

From 2017 to 2100, nine out of the 17 species we looked at are projected to face longer migrations, particularly birds that cross the Sahara desert.

Our findings show that marathon migrations for some birds are set to become even longer journeys.


The distances migrants travel is amazing, especially when you realise that some of them only weigh 9 grams.

We can see the affects of warming in a microcosm in the UK. Warmer summers and cooler winters have see the Dartford Warbler extend its range north and the same is true of Cetti's Warbler.

5 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Interesting read Pete. As if they don't have enough to contend with in their short lives, it seems mans actions are set to make life tougher.
I sometimes wonder if we deserve such beauty around us.

Andrew at Quicksilverbirds said...

An interesting piece Pete. I've also just read some papers (hirundenes especially) recently that say that migration may become obsolete or reduce because host food sources do not die out in the winter months, or they may overwinter in Southern Europe rather than sub Sahara Africa. Whether this happens in the long term we'll wait and see but one thing for sure, global warming is providing chaos to our understanding of nature, and in a way opening up evolutionary adaptations.

Good to get discussions like this on blogs.

Hilary said...

I have heard this as well :( The poor birds...then when they finally reach their destination hopefully a food source is available to them, grubs and insects are being born earlier and earlier, making it hard for the birds babies to have something good to eat when they hatch! :( I hope things work out for them.
Great Blog!

Pete said...

Andrew must be a possibility. There was an overwintering Lesser Whitethroat near me this year. And blackcaps and chiffchaffs over winter now.

Pete said...

cheers Hilary. Are you OC's Hilary?