Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blue tits provide insight into climate change, bird study shows

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
University of Lincoln
Summary:
Researchers believe that the size of birds’ nests created in response to changing weather patterns may be partly to blame for reproductive failures over the last two years.

Blue Tit.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Lincoln

Researchers believe that the size of birds' nests created in response to changing weather patterns may be partly to blame for reproductive failures over the last two years.

An article in the April edition of The Biologist, the Society of Biology's magazine, explains that birds produce different sized nests depending on the weather.

Written by Dr Charles Deeming, senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln and a Fellow of the Society of Biology, the article explains that nests are far more than just a way to hold eggs and chicks.

Dr Deeming said: "Over the past few years scientific interest in nests has increased, with studies ranging from nest composition, construction behaviour and thermal properties to the use of nests as potential signals to mates. We've realised that the factors affecting nest construction are far more complex than we had previously understood."

Dr Deeming's studies of great tits and blue tits breeding in nest boxes at the University's Riseholme Park campus have shed light on how nests are built and how they function.

He found that individual birds can build extremely different nests each year. Cold weather on the days the bird was adding lining to the nest meant they built heavier nests than when the weather was warmer. This suggests that an important function of the nest is to keep the bird warm while it sits on the eggs. Once the nest is lined, the female will lay the first egg, which will be incubated for around two weeks. This means a larger, warmer nest will be important for keeping the bird warm if the weather is cold.

However, as climate change brings more unpredictable weather patterns the way birds construct nests will be affected. In both 2011 and 2012, for example, early spells of warm weather were followed by much lower temperatures.

At Riseholme, this seems to have had devastating effects on reproductive success. Birds building in these early warm periods are likely to construct a light, poorly insulated nest. If the weather subsequently turns cooler, having a poorly insulated nest may have an adverse effect on their reproductive success.

Birds use a wide range of materials in their nests, from moss to sheep's wool, and their availability may also be altered by climate change. Certain plants may go extinct in local areas, so some species could lose a key nesting material.

Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the Society of Biology, said: "Climate change will have a large effect on our ecosystems and our food production, and Dr Deeming's is one of many studies demonstrating that the effects will be complex and difficult to predict. It is essential that we continue to study how organisms adapt to climate change and how we can best mitigate its effects."

Dr Deeming concludes: "Much more research is needed to determine how local climate affects nest construction. Only then will we start to understand how climate change is likely to affect nest building, and hence reproductive success."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Lincoln. "Blue tits provide insight into climate change, bird study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124545.htm>.
University of Lincoln. (2013, April 15). Blue tits provide insight into climate change, bird study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124545.htm
University of Lincoln. "Blue tits provide insight into climate change, bird study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124545.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins