BIRD NEWS: New Normal of Death & Decline in Mojave


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 08 August 2018

BIRD NEWS

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."

No Protection from Pissed A Off Nature
"The loss of bird species has happened even though much of the Mojave Desert is protected national park or preserve, including Death Valley National Park, one of the nation's largest."

"This is a shot across the bow of our nation's national jewels, telling us that climate change is already having an adverse impact even in our largest national parks and wilderness areas..."

Biggest Losers
"Raptors, with their meat-based diet, were one of the groups of birds that declined the most, including the American kestrel, prairie falcon, turkey vulture and sharp-shinned hawk - all fairly common in the early 20th century."

"Rarer birds, such as the Virginia's warbler, red crossbill, mountain quail and Lawrence's goldfinch, are now even rarer."

Desert & Mountain
"COLLAPSE"
"Beissinger refers to the widespread decline as a collapse because it has occurred across the whole desert bird community, unlike changes in bird communities elsewhere, which consist of some declining and some increasing species. The 42 percent decrease in species richness across the Mojave contrasts markedly with a 2 percent decline in richness at sites in the Sierra Nevada revealed by similar surveys."

The New Normal
"... we think we are seeing a new, lower baseline" for desert bird populations..."

 

 

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