Health

Wintering Bird Communities Track Climate Change Faster Than Breeding Communities in Europe and North America

A study recently completed in Europe and North America indicates that the composition of wintering and breeding bird communities changes in line with global warming.

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However, wintering bird communities are considerably faster at tracking the changing climate compared to breeding communities.

Climate change is driving species’ distribution towards the poles and mountaintops, resulting in changes to bird communities. As a considerable share of birds are migratory species, with the distance they travel varying by species, the rate of change in bird communities is different in the breeding season and in the winter. A new Finnish-led study demonstrates for the first time that changes in bird communities are significantly faster in the winter than in the breeding season.

“Climate change is reshaping bird communities so that abundance of southern species increase, while the abundance of northern species is reduced,” says Senior curator Aleksi Lehikoinen from the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, which is part of the University of Helsinki.

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