Written by Staff Writer
Climate change is impacting the shape of birds as it has the potential to drastically decrease their weight, according to researchers from the Birdlife Institute in London
That’s according to a study that was published in the May issue of the journal Oryx, a peer-reviewed publication that examines how birds of note are affected by changes in climate.
Alasdair Armstrong of the BirdLife Institute in London studies a range of species that have been affected by climate change. CNN
Researchers led by Alasdair Armstrong noticed that during periods of temperature increases caused by anthropogenic changes in temperature, the bird mass index (BMI) and abundance of individual species collapsed within a month, but the decline is short-lived.
This in turn leads to more birds being exposed to high levels of toxicity.
The researchers studied 58 bird species, nearly one-third of the world’s species. Over the course of five years, they tracked 2,000 species and their habitats in 18 countries, using the EarthObserve database
Their results confirmed the observation that species that are depleted of prey, including insects, falcons and birds, have an even higher percentage of BMI losses than species of birds that depend on other prey.
Birds lose weight as a result of climate change
Not all changes in diet are negative, however. The greater the change in temperature the greater the weight gain, indicating that bird populations are increasing in response to climate change.
What’s more, increased predator populations seem to counteract the negative effects of temperature change.
However, there is some worry among biologists that this will not be the case and that population growth will lead to populations becoming dangerously depleted.
“This is the first study to look at this relationship between climate change and bird size,” Armstrong told CNN. “They are perhaps showing, in relation to climate change, that human activity has fundamentally changed the ecosystem.”