Climate change is threatening the lives of many animals from around the world, and a new study suggests that the wheels are already spinning for The American Mockingbird, according tomedia. Using GPS to track these songbirds, the scientists found that they start their annual Arctic journey early every decade, largely because of a change in melting ice and snow.
American Mockingbird spends most of the year scattered in the United States and Mexico, but every time spring comes, they travel to Canada and Alaska in the north for their summer vacations. There, they do their best to find mates, nest, start a family, and fatten themselves while eating insects, berries and worms.
But with climate change leading to the warm Arctic season, scientists at Columbia University are thinking about the impact this will have on the migration habits of The Morebird in the Americas. To find out, the team turned to Canada’s Slave Lake, a stopway for birds flying north.
For the past 25 years, researchers have been monitoring bird migration patterns in Lake Nguyen, combining visual surveys and a census of net-and-post populations showing that since 1994, Mockingbird’s time north has been about five days earlier than in 10 years or 12 days earlier than before. To understand why, researchers at Columbia University went one step further, installing microGPS devices on 55 Mockingbirds.
Scientists installed small GPS backpacks on American Mockingbirds to understand their migration patterns
GPS data on bird activity can be linked to temperature, snow depth, wind, rain and other weather data that may affect their migration behavior. The analysis showed that Mockingbird began moving northwards earlier, importantly because the climate was warmer, drier and snow-covered.
“The most consistent factor seems to be the snow conditions and the time of melting. “It’s very new,” says lead author Ruth Oliver. “
The team says this is the first study to reveal how environmental conditions change migration patterns. This information can help them build predictive models and predict how birds will react as the climate continues to change.
“Because the timing of migration indirectly affects the reproductive success of individuals, it is important to understand the control of the timing of migration,” said co-author Natalie Boelman.
The team hopes to map the birds’ entire migration route instead of starting at the halfway point, and use tissue samples taken during GPS location to reveal their previous whereabouts.