Birds breed earlier as the seasons change

Reports are coming in from around the world that birds’ breeding patterns are changing with the seasons, with mounting evidence suggesting global warming is to blame.

An article published on Friday, March 25and in the Journal of Animal Ecology says that climate change alters the seasons and in doing so alters the breeding patterns of birds.

In North America, spring has arrived earlier, causing many species to lay their eggs up to 25 days earlier than usual. Of the 72 species examined around Chicago, a third of the birds had laid eggs nearly a month earlier than a century ago.

Evidence from elsewhere suggests that birds in the northern hemisphere lay their eggs earlier while in parts of the southern hemisphere the opposite is happening. Changing weather conditions, unusual rain patterns, and warmer temperatures all play havoc with the breeding cycles of biords.

So far, scientists studying the matter have yet to find any clear similarities between the species that would explain the change in behavior.

The one constant is that most species are insect eaters, and insect reproduction and behavior are heavily influenced by climate, according to the report’s lead author, John Bates, curator of the bird division at the Field Museum. from Chicago.

He says: “How the life cycles of animals and plants are affected by climate change and seasonal disruptions is a question that is becoming increasingly central in people’s minds.

He adds that a few degrees of temperature above the long-term average can have a big impact on when insects emerge, when trees grow, when flowers bloom and, according to research, when eggs hatch.

More and more scientists believe that the changes that are becoming increasingly evident could be the cause of the sharp decline in bird populations since the 1970s. Since then, the United States and Canada have lost about a third of their birds (about three billion) according to a 2019 study in the journal Science.

Similar patterns are seen in the UK and Europe, with studies in the UK over the past few decades showing a decline in bird numbers and egg laying occurring earlier. These studies also revealed that the growing season arrived earlier.

The evolution of bird breeding patterns is a good indicator of how the seasons have changed and continue to change.


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