Navigation Links
Climate change creates dramatic decline in red-winged black bird population

Global warming strikes again. A University of Illinois researcher reports that a red-winged black bird population in Ontario, Canada has decreased by 50 percent since 1972. The decrease is related to a positive shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation which has resulted in warmer, wetter winters in the southeastern United States.

When Patrick Weatherhead put his 25-year data about the red-winged black bird alongside climate records, he found a direct correlation with the North Atlantic Oscillation. The NAO is a dominant cause of winter climate variability in the North Atlantic region ranging from central North America to Europe and much of Northern Asia. It has been on an upward trend for the past 30 years.

Weatherhead, an ecologist who specializes in the behavior of birds and snakes, says that although some people may be in denial, global warming exists. "There are long-term records that show melting glaciers and altered ecological patterns like earlier migration and earlier nesting of birds.

"When you first start out, you don't set out to get 25 years of data on a topic," he said. "But when you're in the field long enough like I have been, that's what you wind up with -- long-term ecological data which may have unintended uses."

The data was collected in Ontario, Canada at the Queen's University Biological Station from 1975 to 2000, with some additional data in 2005.

"We also found that although the breeding season started at the same time each year, it lasted longer," said Weatherhead. "The birds appear to be interpreting the longer season as the end of the season lasting longer, when more female eggs typically hatch, so that shift has affected the population sex ratio."

Over the years, Weatherhead's team has put bands on the legs of thousands of red-winged black birds in order to track their nesting habits. They winter in southeastern United States. In mid-July they become gregarious and switch from eatin g insects to eating corn and have caused millions of dollars of damage.

Red-winged black birds feed on corn borers, so that makes them well-liked by farmers, until they switch in the breeding season to eating corn. That's when the hero suddenly becomes the pest.

So, is the 50 percent decline in population a good thing for the environment?

Weatherhead says that what will happen in the future isn't clear, but if the climate trends continue, there are likely to be further changes in population size.

In 2005, Weatherhead returned to the marshy region of Canada where the other decades of data had been collected. The North Atlantic Oscillation had returned to neutral values. "We found that the harem size [the number of female birds per male] had rebounded to 2.06 which is less than expected, but it did go up. We are currently measuring the length of the breeding season to see if that has changed, affecting the sex ratio as well."
'"/>

Source:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Related biology news :

1. Climate model links higher temperatures to prehistoric extinction
2. Climate change will affect carbon sequestration in oceans, model shows
3. Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue
4. Climate change drives widespread amphibian extinctions
5. Climate change has surprising effect on endangered naked carp
6. Climate experts search for answers in the oceans
7. Climate change could trigger boom and bust population cycles leading to extinction
8. Climate change impacts stream life
9. Climate change was the cause of Neanderthal extinction in the Iberian Peninsula
10. Elusive HIV shape change revealed; Key clue to how virus infects cells
11. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of ... Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing ... May 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... the highest percentage of growth in each of the following ... exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 On Monday, ... call to industry to share solutions for the Biometric ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP ... are departing the United States , ... and to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... DALLAS , June 20, 2016 ... criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, ... by the prisons involved, it has secured the ... Corrections (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) ... (4) additional facilities to be installed by October, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... The Conference Forum has announced that the ... will take place on February 1-3, 2017 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York ... program provides a unique 360-degree approach, which addresses the most up-to-date information regarding business ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... client Nanowear on their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for their flagship ... hurdle in commercializing remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on cloth-based nanosensors. While ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Robots will storm the Prudential Center ... 3rd, 2016. The event, which is held on the United Nations International Day of ... Disabilities back into the workplace. Suitable Technologies is partnering with NTI to showcase how ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... The immunohistochemistry (IHC) market is projected to reach USD ... the forecast period of 2016 to 2021 dominated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) ... largest share of immunohistochemistry (IHC) market, by end user.   ... , , ... 225 pages, profiling 10 companies and supported with 181 tables and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: