A new study has revealed that the onset of premature spring in much of North America due to climate change has prompted many birds to lay their eggs prematurely during the year, adding to evidence that global warming is upending wildlife habits.
Of the 72 bird breeds examined across Chicago, nearly a third laid eggs 25 days early, compared with 100 years ago, the researchers said in the study published Friday in the Journal of Animal Ecology. Affected breeds include the mourning pigeon, the American Kestrel, and the Cooper Buzzer.
Scientists have not yet found any clear common features between these breeds, such as size or migration status, that may explain the change in the timing of egg laying.
But John Bates, superintendent of ornithology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and leader of the research team, said that “the majority of the birds we studied feed on insects, which in turn alter their seasonal behavior by climate.”
“The impact of the life cycles of plants and animals on climate change and seasonal disturbances is an issue that has become more priority and important in people’s minds,” he added.
Scientists believe that these changes may be among many reasons for the sharp decline in the number of birds since the 1970s, as a study in the journal Science in 2019 revealed that the United States and Canada lost nearly a third of their birds, or about three million birds.
The results of this study are consistent with the conclusions of similar studies conducted in the past decades in the United Kingdom, which also discovered that the laying of eggs was carried out prematurely along with the changes recorded in the growing season.
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