May 24, 2024

Question for information – What is the impact of climate change on migratory birds?

Climate changes not only affect birds in the breeding area, but also have a significant impact on migratory birds during their migrations. Reduced and delayed rainfall and snowfall affect the development of the plant world and thus directly the development of many insects and their food.

Rest and winter migratory birds have to contend with fewer resources on their resting and wintering grounds, and have more difficult conditions for energy-intensive migration.

The earlier start of spring caused by climate change also results in earlier food availability for birds. Accordingly, many migratory birds adapt their migration times to these new conditions. In particular, the early return of many bird species to the breeding area is well documented. For example, over the past 50 years, the migration time to the original habitat of the blackcap's breeding area has changed by about 20 days.

Another consequence of global warming is a shift in breeding, resting and wintering areas. For most bird species, this means a reduction in breeding and wintering areas. In addition, migration distances are assumed to increase by up to 1000 km for many migratory birds. However, the extent to which climate change contributes to current changes in migratory bird populations is unknown and is the subject of current research.

Richard Zinke and his team work at the Austrian Bird Observatory in Vitmidoni on the site of Siebarn am Wagram,

Jessica Winter, Jessica Winter