Mountain Birds Declining in Europe due to Climate & Habitat Changes

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 16 December 2018


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.”

Who, When, Where, & What Happened
44 up, 8 Down
“...examined the population trends of 44 bird species in the 2000s in the mountain and fell regions of Fennoscandia, Great Britain, the Alps and the Iberian Peninsula. A decline was seen in 14 of the observed species, while eight of them saw significant increase.”

Mountain vs. Forest Birds
“...average, population decline among the species studied was 7% over the 13-year research period, making the situation of mountain birds distinctly worse compared to, for example, European forest birds, whose numbers did not change during the same period,”

Mountain Specialists
Down 10% in 10 Years
“...these species, known as mountain specialists, the numbers dwindled by as much as 10% during the monitoring period.”

Another Human Factor
“Changes in land use also threaten moun­tain birds”

Decline in Mountain Grazing Bad
“In addition to climate change, an abundance of mountain birds are affected by human land use. For example, on the Iberian Peninsula the reduction of grazing on mountain fields may result in afforestation, which in turn will lead to a decline among mountain species inhabiting open terrain.”

Keep Watching
“...emphasise the importance of carrying on the monitoring and research to determine regional causes of the trend. Monitoring mountain birds is more challenging than that of birds living in low-lying areas.”



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