Changes in Bird species migratory patterns

Changes in species migratory patterns





The witnessed climatic change largely affects living organisms. Evidently, for survival, organism adapt to distorted seasonal events. Species migrates towards different poles depending on availability of food and rest place for reproduction purposes. This move has lead to phenotypic plasticity, which is defined as the ability of species to adjust behavior and morphology in reaction to environmental changes (Bradshaw and Christina, 1477). For instance, in Arctic, climate is projected to undergo a tremendous and comparative change. Such climatic changes have a huge impact on birds species resulting to different migration patterns.

Majestic bird takes a long walk to Sahara desert in search of a place to rest before resuming to their reproduction grounds. However, rather than finding water and wet ground, sand and dust are conspicuously visible. This forces them to look for survival mechanisms. Just like majestic bird, rise in temperature, alteration in vegetation, and severe weather conditions are major driving force towards change in habitats for birds. This largely contributes to the decline in birds population and changes in migration patterns. Migratory pattern differs across species in line with environmental changes. Mostly, birds that migrate in short and middle, easily adapt to climate change. Essentially, climate change has a huge impact on migratory in several ways. This include high levels of storm rate, low water table, prolonged drought occurrence, high sea level and shift in habitat arising from human activities as well as natural catastrophe (Newton, Ian, and Keith 28).

Climatic change has a huge impact on the migration pattern. In Arctic, during the summer, high temperatures results to melting of snow. Later, autumn frost takes place. With this kind of weather pattern, scientists’ noted that several birds species lay their eggs earlier than usual. For species enjoying southern climate, high temperatures are beneficial for nesting. Further, high temperature affords a longer rearing period for north species. In most cases, access to food and nesting determines the migration patterns. For instance, wetland provides ample nesting and feeding place for ducks and geese. In the permafrost melts season, huge wetlands become available resulting to northward migration. Further, a warmer winter climate prolongs migration length. As such, species that nest in places such as Arctic have to search for food and habitat. In Arctic, the number of birds nesting in the region is on the rise. However, scientist argues that this trend is very risky because approximately 39% to 57% of tundra habitats will disappear towards the end of this centaury affected by change in vegetation (Cox 23).

The above-mentioned trend is evidenced globally. In Canada, during spring, red squirrels reproduce earlier. During this period, they benefit largely from cone production. In central Europe, Blackcaps migrate towards Britain instead of Iberia. Normally, blackcaps based in Britain arrive in advance for nesting and mating. Ideally, great tits birds feed their young ones on caterpillars. However, early spring season favors caterpillar at the expense of great tits. This occurs due to early maturity rate of caterpillar, which is slightly before tit hatch resulting to a reduced reproduction success of great tits. Genetically, great tits are unable to vary their lying eggs timing, which results to a reduction or fixed in the great tit population.

In conclusion, climate change largely affects birds species. Arising from natural catastrophe and human activities, climate change is rapidly evidenced globally. This results to bird migratory patterns in search of food and nesting place.


Cox, George W. 2010. Bird migration and global change. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Newton, Ian, and Keith Brockie. 2008. The migration ecology of birds. Amsterdam: Elsevier-Academic Press.

William E. Bradshaw and Christina M. 2006. Holzapfel, Evolutionary Response to Rapid Climate Change, Science, (312) 9. Retrieved from <;

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