The crooning and chirping of the buoyant creatures gliding high in the sky, hooting up above from a tree, or tweeting in our garden may get silent if we stay on our current trajectory of the impending climate crisis. With unrestrained emission of greenhouse gases due to human activities, the earth’s temperature has been rising steadily for the last two centuries. Unless we take urgent and radical measures to curb the emissions, we might cross a point of no return. The rising temperature or global warming has been resulting in loss of biodiversity at greater levels and has risked the lives of many wildlife species including our avian friends! In the last fifty years, scientists have observed a dramatic change in behaviour of birds, shrinkage in their range, the change in their migratory routes and patterns, their breeding and non-breeding patterns and their life cycle in general.
Climatologists and wildlife biologists have been analysing the shifting patterns in birds and their prognosis is rather gloomy. The birds are in distress! The climate change has put them in a disarray. To thrive, each species of birds have a requirement of peculiar environment and surrounding. The temperature, changes in seasons, the amount of precipitation affect how a particular species of bird behaves. With rising temperature due to greenhouse gases emission, these conditions start to shift erratically, forcing the birds to change their physiology. This will not only lead to displacement from their natural habitat but will also endanger their lives as the new environment may expose them to lesser food resources and newer fierce predators. The warmer temperature has been impacting the breeding patterns in birds too. As the temperature gets warmer, they have been breeding earlier. Even the migratory patterns for some birds have changed in response to climate change as with variation in temperatures the timing and availability of their food resources such as insects and seeds have changed as well.
Scientists in North America have reported that certain species of the birds have been affected in terms of their shapes and size over the last forty years; their weight and legs have reduced whereas their wings have gotten longer. It could be due to the warming effect of climate change. In this study done on 52 species, all of the birds reduced in size over the last forty years. As per another study published in September 2019, the bird population in the United States of America and Canada has reduced by twenty-nine per cent in the last fifty years! This does not bode well for these birds as the climate change is expected to only get worse in the coming years.
Many of the species of the birds which we see around us could vanish in a few years if we continue to burn fossil fuels for our automobiles, to run our power plants and factories, and cut the trees and degrade our land. It is now time for us to act immediately as a community and as an individual to mitigate the carbon emission by completely overhauling the way we live.