Migratory birds might disappear because of climate change

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London, May 19 : A new study has expressed concern about migrating birds disappearing in the future, if they fail to adapt to changing weather patterns, which are a result of climate change.

According to a report in New Scientist, high winds and atmospheric instability could make it impossible for small birds to muster the energy needed to fly the long distances to and from their winter feeding grounds.

The study, led by Melissa Bowlin of Princeton University, tracked the heart rate of 15 Swainson's thrushes as they migrated the 4800 kilometres from Panama to Canada, which takes 42 days.

The research team found that avoiding high winds and turbulence during migration reduces the energy expenditure of the thrushes.

This means they could struggle if climate change made such conditions more frequent, according to Bowlin.

"Worse flying conditions could mean these birds are going to run out of energy sooner - and that's bad news if they're flying over ecological barriers like the Mediterranean Sea," she added.

According to Bowlin, though Swainson's thrushes migrate individually, rather than in flocks, the findings may also apply to other species of small migratory birds.

"These results confirm how finely balanced the life cycles of migratory birds are," said Paul Donald, a senior researcher at the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

"Many long-distance migrant birds in Europe are suffering long-term population declines, and these results suggest an additional danger posed to them by climate change," he added.

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