Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Warmer winters may be pushing raptors northward

Date:
January 29, 2014
Source:
Boise State University
Summary:
Research shows that several raptor species appear to be responding to warmer winters by shortening their annual migration by as much as seven or eight kilometers (four to five miles) per year.

Neil Paprocki with a rough-legged hawk.
Credit: Paprocki

While birds of a feather may still migrate south for the winter, many species are opting for a slightly more northward locale. Research by Boise State University biologists shows that several raptor species appear to be responding to warmer winters by shortening their annual migration by as much as seven or eight kilometers (four to five miles) per year. Their research was published recently in the scientific journal PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science).

Titled "Regional Distribution Shifts Help Explain Local Changes in Wintering Raptor Abundance: Implications for Interpreting Population Trends," the paper was written by Neil Paprocki, who recently earned a master of science degree in raptor biology at Boise State, and Julie Heath and Stephen Novak, faculty in the university's Department of Biological Sciences. Paprocki took the lead in conducting the project's detailed statistical analyses.

The researchers noted a continued increase of wintering raptors in the Boise area over the past 20+ years and decided to take a closer look at how raptors are potentially responding to regional climate change, specifically how their distributions are changing in the areas where they traditionally winter over.

Using data collected during the annual National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count -- where citizens over the past 100 years have gone outside over the holidays to count the number of birds they see in a specific area -- they were able to determine that several species were, indeed, wintering far north of their traditional habitats. Most pronounced is the rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus), which since 1975 has shifted its winter quarters about 185 miles poleward.

Other species found to winter further north in the study include American kestrels (Falco sparverius), golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Northern harriers (Circus cyaneus), prairie falcons (Falco mexicanus) and red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis).

"There has been a lot of interest in the scientific community about what kind of effect global warming is having on bird species," said Paprocki, noting that those charged with wildlife management use population trends of species in a region as one factor in assessing how that species is doing.

"Continued shifts in the distribution of species will force us to rethink how we interpret local population trends and determine which areas require conservation action," he said.

While the birds may be reacting to higher average temperatures worldwide, researchers are quick to point out that other factors could also be at play. The raptors might also be responding to other migration factors or even intraspecific competition for nesting sites.

"These shifts provide a lot of insight into what is going on in any one bird population or conservation region," said Novak. "But if we don't understand the shifts and what is causing them, we may end up putting a lot of resources into maintaining or restoring an area and possibly misusing limited funds. These data can help us to better understand what is going on at a more local scale so action can be taken when and where it is needed."

Researchers say these data will inform future studies and lead to new avenues of exploration, such as the consequences of distribution shifts on the survival and reproductive success of species.

"In a more fundamental way, this study adds to an emerging picture of some of the impacts associated with changing climate regimes," Novak said. "If we found this northward shifts during the winter, how do these shifts effect species over the rest of their annual cycle? We clearly need to widen our scope beyond single-season and single-species studies to better estimate the ecological and evolutionary consequences of climate change."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boise State University. The original article was written by Kathleen Tuck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Neil Paprocki, Julie A. Heath, Stephen J. Novak. Regional Distribution Shifts Help Explain Local Changes in Wintering Raptor Abundance: Implications for Interpreting Population Trends. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e86814 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086814

Cite This Page:

Boise State University. "Warmer winters may be pushing raptors northward." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129114458.htm>.
Boise State University. (2014, January 29). Warmer winters may be pushing raptors northward. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129114458.htm
Boise State University. "Warmer winters may be pushing raptors northward." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129114458.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
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