stacks



dead birds and bees

birds

Experts fear 'quiet springs' as
songbirds can't keep up with climate change


According to analysis of four decades of Audubon's Christmas Bird Count released in February 2009 birds seen in North America during the first weeks of winter have moved dramatically northward - toward colder latitudes - over the past four decades.

Significant northward movement occurred among 58% of the observed species - 177 of 305.

More than 60 species moved in excess of 100 miles north.

Among all landbirds in the study, 64% showed significant northward movements, including more than 70% of all woodland birds and 70% of the frequent feeders.

52% of interior waterbird species moved north, including a wide variety of ducks, such as Red-Breasted Merganser, American Black Duck, and Green-Winged Teal.

46% of coastal waterbirds including Black Turnstone (a shorebird), Black-Bellied Plover (a shorebird) and Northern Gannet (a large fish-eating bird) moved north.

Grassland birds, including Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Vesper Sparrow, and Burrowing Owl, overall did not move due to lack of available habitat.

Rising winter temperatures make northern latitudes increasingly more hospitable to many species commonly found farther south.

Audubon's Christmas Bird Count has documented shifts to the north or inland for the majority and for nearly every kind of North American bird species.

"Whether seen in the movement of the birds, or the melting of ice caps, the evidence cannot be denied - ecological disruption is underway. Failure to prevent the worst impacts of global warming would undermine much of the conservation work that Audubon has accomplished for more than a century." - A Briefing for Policymakers and Concerned Citizens on Audubon's Analyses of North American Bird Movements in the Face of Global Warming, February, 2009; Audubon Christmas Bird Count and Climate Analysis by Daniel K. Niven, Gregory S. Butcher and G. Thomas Bancroft; Audubon California Climate Research by William B.Monahan and Gary Langham.


According to The State of the Birds, US of America 2009 report:

Hawaiian birds and oceanic birds appear to be most at risk.

Grasslands and aridlands and their associated bird species have shown the most rapid decline in the past 40 years.

Some declines have been shown in birds that depend on forest habitats.

More than one-third of all US listed birds occur in Hawaii with 71 species becoming extinct since humans colonized the islands.
At least another 10 species are unrecorded in recent decades and are thought to be extinct.

At least 39% of US birds restricted to oceanic habitats are declining.

Wading birds and other wetland birds have either held their own, or are increasing.

Of 83 aridland birds, 39% are species of conservation concern, including at least 10 federally listed as endangered or threatened.

60% of all aridland species and 76% of aridland obligate species have declined.

Aridland federally listed species or populations listed as endangered are: California Condor, Northern Aplomado Falcon, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike, Least Bell's Vireo, Black-Capped Vireo, and Golden-Cheeked Warbler.

Aridland species or populations listed as threatened are: Western Snowy Plover, California Gnatcatcher, Inyo California Towhee, and San Clemente Sage Sparrow.

Of 46 grassland-breeding birds, 48% are species of conservation concern, including four species populations that are federally endangered: Northern Aplomado Falcon, Masked Northern Bobwhite, Attwater's Greater Prairie-Chicken, and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow.

Six species that breed in the Great Plains of the US and Canada and winter in Mexico's Chihuahuan grasslands, Sprague's Pipit, Mountain Plover, Lark Bunting, Baird's Sparrow, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, and McCown's Longspur have shown population declines of 68-91%. In addition, Lesser Prairie-Chicken is a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.




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