Date: September 16, 2015
Source: University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Summary: North Americans might be seeing new species of birds in certain areas of the continent in the near future. According to research, Eurasian birds are beginning to develop a presence on our continent, which could end up having a negative effect on native species.
Vladimir Dinets, research assistant professor of psychology, recently published a paper in the Journal of Field Ornithologyexamining the threats of global warming and its effects on wild animals. The warming climate is allowing various species in North America and Eurasia to get closer to, and even cross, the Bering Strait, a natural barrier only 50 miles wide. Birds from Eurasia, in particular, are crossing into North America.
Dinets, who has traveled extensively on both sides of the Bering Strait, notes that in the past 20 years, the vegetation of the region has changed dramatically. What used to be hundreds of miles of open tundra is now dense shrubland. And more southern bird species use this change to colonize new areas. For example, the savanna sparrow has recently begun breeding in Siberia, while the great spotted woodpecker has made it to Alaska for the first time.