European birds flock to warming Britain

Jul 30, 2008

Researchers at Durham, the RSPB and Cambridge University have found that birds such as the Cirl Bunting and Dartford Warbler are becoming more common across a wide range of habitats in Britain as temperatures rise.

Unfortunately, some northern species, such as the Fieldfare and Redwing, are not faring quite so well and their numbers are falling

Researchers looked at twenty-five year population trends of 42 bird species in relation to changes in climatic suitability simulated using climatic envelope models.

Professor Brian Huntley from The Institute of Ecosystem Science at Durham University says: "The results are what we expected to find given the changes in climate over the last 20 years.

"Because the UK is in the middle Latitudes of Europe, we expected that recent climatic warming would favour species with ranges located in the south of Europe and adversely affect northern species."

Bird spotters may have to refer to new books to identify some of the new visitors to our shores but Britons who've visited the Mediterranean region may recognise the increasing presence of the famously explosive song of Cetti's Warbler.

Northern species that are under threat also include the Slavonian Grebe, a bird whose range extends at its southern margins to Scotland. The Fieldfare and Redwing - birds that are familiar as winter visitors to bird tables and gardens in the north-east but that breed only locally in parts of Scotland - are also suffering a downturn in numbers.

The models used to explore these trends are the same models that have been used to predict long term changes in all bird species across Europe; Durham's ornithological expert Brian Huntley has compiled 'A Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds' to map potential changes in distribution of all of the continent's regularly occurring nesting birds. His work shows the need for urgent action on climatic change to avoid calamitous impacts on birds.

The new work has important implications for predicting future trends. Researchers can now look at what has happened in the past to help predict the future species and numbers of birds in Britain.

Source: Durham University

Explore further: Adventurous bacteria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tracking sperm whales' ecology through stomach contents

Apr 04, 2014

In the largest regional study of its type to date, marine ecologist Michelle Staudinger and colleagues offer better understanding of the feeding ecologies of two very rare sperm whale species in waters off ...

Recommended for you

Adventurous bacteria

1 minute ago

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown how these organisms should ...

Japan lawmakers demand continued whaling

1 hour ago

Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling programme to circumvent an international court ruling that described the programme as a commercial hunt dressed up as ...

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

2 hours ago

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

SDMike
not rated yet Jul 31, 2008
Dang global warming! Some species benefit contrary to Professor Gore.

More news stories

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...