October 21, 2015
New details on how birds respond to climate change have been revealed by volunteer bird watchers all over Europe. The information they've gathered shows birds respond to changing conditions in different seasons of the year. While some species benefit from these changes, birds that are adapted to colder regions stand to lose. This knowledge can help predict future bird communities in Europe and focus the effort to tackle the effects of climate change on the most vulnerable species.
For example, the study found warmer winters benefit resident birds, such as the Short-toed treecreeper and the Collared Dove, with more productive spring times benefiting short-distance migrants such as the Goldfinch and the Woodlark. Warmer or more productive periods complemented the early or peak breeding season for these birds.
The results are based on an incredibly large dataset from 18 different countries collected by volunteers and published in Global Change Biology led by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, together with BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council.