As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Protected Wildlife Areas Are 'Welcome Mats' for UK's Bird Newcomers


Apr. 10, 2013 — A new study by scientists at the University of York and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) shows that bird species which have colonised the UK in recent decades breed initially almost exclusively in nature reserves and other areas specially protected for wildlife.

First author, Jonathan Hiley, a PhD student in the Department of Biology at York, said: "Nature reserves provide ecological welcome mats for new arrivals."

Published online in the journalProceedings of the Royal Society B., the study shows that, of the 20 wetland bird species that bred for the first time in the UK since 1960, 18 bred first in these protected areas. Protected areas were crucial as the population established and grew. Once established in reserves, the birds began to spread out into other locations as they expanded their ranges across the country.

For some warmth-loving southern species, such as Little Egrets and Cetti's Warblers, these arrivals appear to be in response to a changing climate. For others, such as Common Cranes, they are a response to other factors, such as recovery from historical loss of habitat or persecution.
egrets

The mainstay of traditional conservation has been to establish protected areas to provide refuges against the loss of habitats and other threats in the surrounding countryside. Ironically, this study comes at a time when the value of protected areas is being questioned in some quarters because climate change and other factors cause animals to move away from their traditional haunts and into new regions.

However, species which are shifting their ranges also need high quality places to move into. For birds, at least, it appears that the current network of protected areas in the UK is providing such places.
"This study shows that the hugely important role that nature reserves and protected areas play will continue undiminished in the future," according to Jonathan Hiley.

Co-author Professor Chris Thomas, of the Department of Biology at York, added: "This gives some cause for optimism in the midst of concern that climate change and other factors will imperil many species. Protected areas are helping to give birds and other species a fighting chance of moving into new regions where they can breed successfully."

Continued: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082204.htm

No comments:

Post a comment