Higher temperatures have forced migrating birds to change northwards their winter groundings, according to scientists. Yet despite the birds moving in reaction to weather changes, the number of ducks in the countries examined has fallen sizeably in the last three decades.
Experiments show that many of the ducks may now not arrive at their destination due to being unable to find their winter spot where it used to be.
This worries organisations including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, who say everything must be done to ensure that ducks’ natural habitats are not affected by the activities of human kind.
Over thirty years a census was taken by an international team of researchers, the findings showed that ducks were in some instances preferring not to migrate or, if they chose to, weren’t migrating far from their summer breeding patch in the winter.
Changes in migration is known in the field as short-stopping, in that Arctic birds head to less cold areas for winter because the increase in temperature means they needn’t fly as great a distance to find thawing lakes and food. This could be a worry for nature reserves, whose territory was chosen on where the birds were expected to land in winter – now the birds could miss this projection having a profound impact on their conservation.
The decline in bird species cannot be entirely attributed to global warming, but it does tend to be humans’ activities in general that affect wildlife’s ingrained sense of identity and pattern. Researchers commented that the data highlights how important it is to gain a good level of international agreement on how to made better the situation before there are no ducks left in Britain.