The warming temperatures, shifting seasons, extreme weather conditions, changing precipitation and warming oceans with rising sea levels are causing immense damage to biodiversity. The published researches and studies are clearly indicating that these factors are disrupting the natural habitat of birds – our feathered friends. Due to climate change, birds today are facing an increasing number of threats to their existence. It is appearing that change could send more than half of the bird species to join their ancestors in extinction. Human-induced climate change is causing serious damage to biodiversity. Many migrating birds have sensitivity towards environmental change. Further, the extreme weather conditions lead to significant alteration of the birds’ essential habitats. All these reasons are collectively responsible for the decline of bird populations and changes in migration patterns.
Climate Change & Its Adverse Effects
In order to know how climate change is affecting birds, we need to understand the climate change effects first. The main reason for climate change or global warming is the burning of the fossil fuels. Its burning results in the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon, methane, nitrogen, sulphur, etc. These gases trap sun’s radiation which would reflect otherwise, causing the environment to heat up. Since the industrial revolution, the level of carbon has increased to 30%. The emission of greenhouse gases results in an increase in global temperature to 1.3 degrees F. This hotter climate eventually results in droughts and wildfires, hurricanes, high-speed winds, and flooding. All these factors, collectively, disrupting the natural habitat of birds, sending these lovely species on the brink of extinction.
The birds are losing their natural habitat due to increasing temperatures, flooding or desertification. If we take an example of Sahel region, then we find that there has been a loss of habitat due to increase in desertification. The change in climate has also resulted in decreasing rainfall in the Sahel region due to which the desert is expanding further. As far as the migration of birds is concerned they are not finding any place for resting or refueling. Some birds that rely on coral reefs are facing similar challenges. The water is getting more acidic due to global warming. This acidity of water is preventing corals to form the structure of the reef. Coral Reefs are an important food source for birds and are also critical habitats for their survival.
Disturbance in Migration Schedule
Published literature is clearly indicating that there has been a decline in the long-distance migration of birds. The reason for this is that migratory species are finding it difficult to adjust their migration schedules due to lack of resting places and food sources. As the seasons’ cycles are extending, there has also been a shift in the growing cycle of fruits, which is impacting birds’ migration.
No Nesting Areas
The climate changes are considered as a threat to Coastal-nesting birds as rising sea levels are reducing nesting areas available for coastal and salt marsh nesting birds. The severity and frequency of storms are also adding to their sorrows. The stronger storms are responsible for over washing of beaches and salt marsh flooding.
The most reliable solution to these issues would be to stop climate change. However, it is a very tough task and global community has to take measures to put a check on climate change and global warming. Another key step would be Habitat restoration and protection. The humans should prevent themselves from damaging their already damaged habitat. Constructing artificial nesting sites will help in increasing reproductive output and population growth for some species.