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Arctic Birds Breeding Timing Changing



Black-Legged Kittiwake
Black-Legged Kittiwake in the Arctic, by Sébastien Descamps, University of Barcelona.
In Arctic regions, the time period with optimal conditions for the reproduction of seabirds is quite limited. Fine shot by Sébastien Descamps, University of Barcelona.


Breeding Timing Changing

Early Breeding Season for Some Arctic Seabirds Due to Global Warming,
University of Barcelona, October 7, 2019.


Dramatic Changes
"The Arctic is one of the most sensitive areas to the global warming effects. Ice melting and the continuous rise of temperatures -higher than the average worldwide- are dramatically altering the structure of the Arctic ecosystems."

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Rising Heat Isolated as Main Cause of Desert Bird Declines



Rising Heat Isolated as Main Cause of Desert Bird Declines

Collapse of Desert Bird Populations Likely Due to Heat Stress from Climate change,
University of California - Berkeley, September 30, 2019.


"The team that last year documented a collapse of bird communities in Mojave Desert over the last century -- 29 percent of the 135 bird species that were present 100 years ago are less common and less widespread today -- has now identified a likely cause: heat stress associated with climate change."

Earlier Research: See First Link Below

Virtual Birds vs. Real Declines
A Match
"...comparing levels of species declines to computer simulations of how "virtual birds" must deal with heat on an average hot day in Death Valley, which can be in the 30s Celsius -- 90s Fahrenheit -- with low humidity. These temperatures are, on average, 2 C (3.6 F) hotter than 100 years ago. The birds that the model predicted would require the most extra water today, compared to a 100 years ago, were the species that had declined the most in the Mojave Desert over the past century."

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Abstract Bird Communication Skills



A passerine bird in the crow family, by Guill McIvor.
A passerine bird in the crow family. Wiki. By Guill McIvor.


Abstract Bird Communication Skills

Jackdaws Learn from Each Other about 'Dangerous' Humans,
University of Exeter, September 24, 2019.


Smart Birds
"Jackdaws can learn from each other to identify "dangerous" humans..."

Warning: Bad Humans
Jackdaws Identify & Remember You
"The jackdaws that were played a warning call on seeing a new human returned to their nest boxes more than twice as quickly (53%) on average when seeing that human again, whereas birds that heard contact calls took longer to return to their nest (63% on average)."

"Though jackdaws returned to their nests more quickly after seeing a human associated with a warning call, the calls did not appear to influence how long birds took to enter their nest box or how long they spent inside."



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Voices of the Forests: Bird & Squirrel Information Networks


Squirrels Listen, as Well as Squawking...


Lives of Birds

Interconnected Information Networks

Amazonian 'lookout' birds help other species live in dangerous neighborhoods,
San Francisco State University, May 22, 2018.

Backpacker Tech, Too!

Voices of the Forest
The specifics of bird communication identified above are interesting, as far as gaining theoretical knowledge of the specifics of forest "inter-communications" between species, but this information also contains a bit of practical insight that's valuable for backpackers on the trail:

Listening to the clicking and chirping voices of the forest informs the observant backpacker about things they would otherwise be unaware of.

Bird Whispers
My favorite use of sound is to keep birds calm by clicking upon my approach, to let them know (before they freak out) that I'm not a "hostile" force, so we can enjoy each other's company. A bit more entertaining is the situation of a line of ticked-off squirrels in a line of trees along the trail.

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BIRD BRAINS? Chickadees Understand Complex Sound Emotions at Distance



Black-Capped Chickadee
Black-Capped Chickadee, kriswaid, pixabay.
Black-Capped Chickadee, kriswaid, pixabay. Note the  beak on the bird in the image with the research notice below kind of looks like a Jackdaw (??), whatever it is, but not a Chickadee, not with that beak...


Complex Emotions Understood at Distance

Hear them roar: How humans and chickadees understand each other,
University of Alberta, July 12, 2019.


"The idea is that some species can understand other species' vocalizations."

"For instance, a songbird is able to understand the call of distress of a different type of songbird when they are in the presence of a predator, like an owl or a hawk. Or, for example, if your friend scared you and you screamed. Both of these are high-arousal vocalizations, and being able to understand what that sounds like in a different species can be very useful."

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Great Basin Flyway Drying Out



Great Basin Flyway Drying Out

Western Bird Species Are Struggling In Face Of Rapidly Changing Climate,
KPBS, April 8, 2019.


Changed and Changing More
“...climate change is putting stress on wetlands in the West's Great Basin and that is putting pressure on bird populations navigating the Pacific Flyway.”

“Snowmelt is arriving too early and not sticking around long enough...”

General Decline
“Eleven of those 14 birds that we looked at there were significant correlations between changes in climate and a decrease in population.”

“The basin includes most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Arizona, Oregon and the eastern edge of California.”

What’s Driving Climate Change, in the First Place?
Long Over-Development
"But that’s not to say that urbanization and other uses of water have not severely affected birds in the great basin and elsewhere.”


Related Research

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Amazing Airborne Lives of Swifts


Amazing Airborne Life

Swifts are Born to Eat and Sleep in the Air,
Lund University, March 5, 2019.


Airborne Life
“Using micro-data loggers attached to the birds, the researchers measured movement when the wings flap. The loggers record activity every five minutes, and the bird's location once a month. Using this method, the researchers have been able to ascertain that the birds live for months at a time in the air during the winter months, the period of the year they spend in West Africa after the breeding season in Italy.”

Only Landing to Breed, Glide Sleep
"They land when they breed under a roof tile or in a hole, otherwise they live in the air. They eat insects while they fly, and when they have reached a high altitude and start gliding, they actually sleep for short periods."

Different Breeding, Different Air Times
“The breeding season dictates why pallid swifts cannot fly for as many months in a row as the common swift, i.e. ten months. Pallid swifts lay two clutches in one season, the common swift only one.”

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Climate Change Bringing Unpredictable Ecosystem Disruption for Migratory Birds


Flying into the Unknown

Study: Climate change is leading to unpredictable ecosystem disruption for migratory birds,
Cornell University, March 5, 2019.


Into the Unknown
“...difficult to predict how climate change will affect migratory bird populations and the ecosystems they inhabit.”

Beyond the Pale
"Climates have natural variation and we're moving rapidly into territory where the magnitude of climate change will consistently exceed this variation."

Ecological Disruption
"There will be no historic precedent for these new climates, and migratory bird populations will increasingly encounter 'novel' climatic conditions. The most likely outcome will be a period of ecological disruption as migratory birds and other species try to respond or adapt to these new conditions."

Climate they Fit is Gone
“ the middle of the next century migratory bird populations will experience novel climates during all phases of their annual life cycles.”


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BIRDS & INSECTS, A Shared Decline


A Shared Decline

Bugs Go, Birds Follow...

Original article, below, Oct 17, '18:

Swallow decline linked to Climate & Bugs


Latest Update
January 15, ‘19:

Puerto Rico Insect Collapse

Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems,’
Guardian, January 15, 2019.

"Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished."

“We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”


Previous Reporting
October 19, '18:

Ecosystems Failing

Puerto Rico Insect Collapse

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Mountain Birds Declining in Europe due to Climate & Habitat Changes


Up to 10% Decline in Mountain-Specialists
Snow bunting, a mountain-specialist whose population has declined, by Aleksi Lehikoinen of University of Helsinki.
Snow bunting, a mountain-specialist whose population has declined, by Aleksi Lehikoinen of University of Helsinki

Mountain birds declining in Europe,
University of Helsinki, December 13, 2018.


“...the abundances of mountain-specialist birds has declined by as much as 10% in the 2000s. ”

Running our of “Running” Room
“These species are also very susceptible to climate change, as global warming is reducing their liveable habitats. In principle, species may relocate further up the mountains, but closer to the top their habitat inevitably shrinks.”

It’s Us!
“...declined in line with climate change projections.”

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Changing Climate Increasing Predation Removing Reasons for Long Arctic Bird Migrations


Nest Predation to test Value of Arctic Bird Migration?

Climate change flips the global pattern of shorebird nest predation,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, November 8. 2018.


“Once a haven for breeding shorebirds worldwide, nest predation in the Arctic has been on the rapid rise, putting global populations at increased risk.”

“The results suggest that disruptions in historic patterns of predator and prey are driven by global climate change.”

“Historically, predation rates for birds that breed nearer to the equator are higher than those for birds who breed nearer to the poles. As a result, many birds have adapted strategies to ensure the survival of their offspring, including migrating thousands of miles, away from the tropics, to rookeries in Arctic areas.”

"...explore the global impacts of climate change on patterns of nest predation by assembling a database of over 38,000 individual shorebird nests from 237 populations.”

“They report that overall rates of nest predation have been on the rise for the last 70 years.”

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New Caledonian Crows Create Compound Tools


A Time in History when Birds were Smarter than Humans?


New Caledonian crow with a stick tool.

New Caledonian crow with a stick tool, Image by Auguste von Bayern of the  Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

Image by Auguste von Bayern of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

New Caledonian crows can create compound tools,
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, October 24, 2018.


"...New Caledonian crows are able to create tools by combining two or more otherwise non-functional elements, an ability so far observed only in humans and great apes."

"...these birds can create long-reaching tools out of short combinable parts - an astonishing mental feat."

"...anthropologists regard early human compound tool manufacture as a significant step in brain evolution."

"Such anticipation, or planning, is usually interpreted as involving creative mental modelling and executive functions."

"...the same species as Betty, who became famous in 2002 as the first animal shown to be able to create a hooked tool by bending a pliable material."

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HEATED CACTUS THREATENS HUMMERS: Desert Migrations Threatened by Shifted Blooming Time


Desert Migrations Threatened by Shifted Cactus Blooming Time

Ocotillos are blooming too soon, leaving migrating hummingbirds without food,
Desert Sun, October 1, 2018.


Ocotillo Cactus driven by climate change to bloom too early for migrating hummingbirds.

Traditional Bloom Timing

"...ocotillos bloomed in April and May, not in the dead of winter."

2007 Bloom Timing

Now, "...dozens of ocotillos blooming in January – months before migrating hummingbirds would arrive in the Coachella Valley."

"...Sonoran Desert shrubs, including ocotillo, began blooming nearly 40 days earlier than they did a century ago...(and)...ocotillos and other shrubs ended their bloom more than a month earlier than in previous decades. "

Change You Can Believe In

"...there would be disastrous consequences for most hummingbird species since all but one migrates through the Southwest and northern Mexico."


Massive Human Population Growth Destroying Everything...

The Hummers are Far from being Alone...

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Migration Traffic Report: More than 4 Billion Birds Make the Fall Migration


Migration Traffic Report

More than 4 billion birds stream overhead during fall migration,
Cornell University, September 17, 2018.


"...researchers can now estimate how many birds migrate through the U.S. and the toll that winter and these nocturnal journeys take."

"We've discovered that each autumn, an average of 4 billion birds move south from Canada into the U.S. At the same time, another 4.7 billion birds leave the U.S. over the southern border, heading to the tropics."

"In the spring, 3.5 billion birds cross back into the U.S. from points south, and 2.6 billion birds return to Canada across the northern U.S. border."

The Result
"Contrary to popular thought, birds wintering in the tropics survive the winter better than birds wintering in the U.S."

"Birds wintering in the U.S. may have more habitat disturbances and more buildings to crash into, and they might not be adapted for that."



All Bird News




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Trouble in the Cloud Forests, Birds Ascending 23 Feet a Year


Cloud Forests Rising

Birds retreating from climate change, deforestation in Honduras cloud forests,
University of Utah, August 6, 2018.

"A cloud forest is an ecosystem that derives much of its moisture from water vapor in the surrounding air."

"A 10-year study of bird populations in Cusuco National Park, Honduras, shows that the peak of bird diversity in this mountainous park is moving higher in elevation. Additional land protection, unfortunately, may not be enough to reverse the trend, driven in part by globally rising temperatures."

"...predicted that rising temperatures and changes in precipitation would cause species, particularly birds, to shift to higher elevations, shrinking their habitat and boosting the risk of extinction."

" exactly what’s happening."

"...most species moving upslope, at an average of 23 feet (7 m) per year."

Not Just Climate
"One factor is the continuing development and deforestation within the park."

"The terrain’s status as a national park...doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent for those seeking to expand agricultural land."

But Climate is Changing
“Increased protection is unlikely to mitigate the effects of climate change.”


Alex Wierbinski's picture

BIRD NEWS: New Normal of Death & Decline in Mojave


New Normal of Death & Decline in Mojave

Mojave Desert birds crashed over the last century due to climate change,
University of California - Berkeley, August 7, 2018.

Desert Bird Populations Crashed-Crashing
"Bird communities in the Mojave Desert straddling the California/Nevada border have collapsed over the past 100 years, most likely because of lower rainfall due to climate change..."

43% of Mojave Site-Species Lost
"30 percent, or 39 of the 135 bird species that were there 100 years ago, are less common and less widespread today. The 61 sites surveyed lost, on average, 43 percent of the species that were there a century ago."

Losing Desert Ecosystems (and everywhere else, too)
"California deserts have already experienced quite a bit of drying and warming because of climate change, and this might be enough to push birds over the edge. It seems like we are losing part of the desert ecosystem."

Chained Collapse
"The collapse could have an impact on desert plants that rely upon birds to spread their seeds and for pollination, she said, as well as on a host of creatures that prey on the birds."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lobotomizing the Web of Life: King Penguins Disappearing

Lobotomizing the Web of Life

Penguins Disappearing

Largest king penguin colony has shrunk nearly 90 percent,
CNRS, July 30, 2018.

1982 "...the colony included 500,000 breeding pairs and consisted of over two million penguins."

Colony in 1982
The colony of king penguins on Île aux Cochons in 1892, in the southern Indian Ocean.Credit, Copyright by Henry Weimerskirch

"They found that the colony has shrunk, yielding its territory to encroaching vegetation. Photographs taken from a helicopter during the Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition confirm that the colony's penguin population has plummeted."

"...the decline began in the late 1990s, coinciding with a major climatic event in the Southern Ocean related to El Niño."

"...none of these possibilities seems to offer a satisfactory explanation for a decline of the magnitude observed on Île aux Cochons."


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Allies Against the Bugs: Program and Scorecard for the Battle of "The Birds Vs The Bugs"



Bird News

Our Buddies Against the Bugs

Program and Scorecard for the Battle of "The Birds Vs The Bugs"

Birds eat 400 to 500 million tonnes of insects annually,
Springer, July 9, 2018.


Birds & Bugs

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Increasing Warm Water Episodes Threaten Gulls in Gulf of California


Increasing Warm Water Episodes in Gulf of California

Threatening Heermans Gulls

Will warm-water events in the Gulf of California reduce seabird populations?
American Ornithological Society Publications Office, April 25, 2018.

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Tricolored Blackbird Threatened Species in California: More Dead Birds than Living


Bird News
More Dead Birds than Living

California Protects Tricolored Blackbird As A Threatened Species, Fewer Than 200,000 Remain,
CPR, April 23, 2018.

"...Tricolored Blackbird populations have dropped 55 percent over the past decade..."

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