- Dutch Study Sheds Light On Climate Change's Threat To Birds
- - Dutch Study Sheds Light On Climate Change's Threat To Birds
Paris (AFP) May 04, 2006
Environmental scientists in the Netherlands say they have found
evidence that climate change can decimate migrating bird species by
affecting the date when their main food supply becomes abundant.
Dutch researchers have been following the species for decades, using
nestboxes in forests, observations of their arrival and departure
and monitoring availability of their staple food, which is
They have found that the earlier arrival of warm weather causes the
caterpillars to emerge sooner -- and as a result, the flycatchers
may arrive too late to properly feed their young. The birds breed,
but without having an adequate food supply for the nestlings.
The team, lead by Christian Both of Groningen University, looked at
population numbers and caterpillar availability from 1987 to 2003.
An early food peak caused flycatcher numbers to decline by a
stunning 90 percent. But when the caterpillars peaked later, the
decline was only 10 percent.
"Mistiming as a result of climate change is probably a widespread
phenomenon," says Both. "(The) evidence (is) that it can lead to
A small long-distance migrating bird called the pied flycatcher
(Ficedula hypoleuca) spends the northern hemisphere winter in West
Africa, returning to northern Europe in the spring to breed.