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Phenomenon due to climate change: Europe's birds are breeding further and further north


Global warming is forcing birds to migrate to other regions. Some species from the Mediterranean have now been spotted in Great Britain.

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A dipper (Cinclus cinclus) sits on a stone by the creek bank with prey in its beak

Photo: W. Rolfes / McPHOTO / blickwinkel / imago images

Around 600 different species of birds breed in Europe.

This is the result of the new breeding bird atlas (EBBA2) of the European Bird Census Council (EBCC).

539 of the species found are indigenous, 57 originally come from other parts of the world.

Most of these species are only distributed in small areas of Europe, according to a press release.

One of the largest projects in Europe on biodiversity is behind the breeding bird atlas.

The most detailed picture of the distribution of birds in Europe so far is obtained because around 120,000 volunteers made their field observations available from all over Europe between 2013 and 2017.

Compared to the survey for the first breeding bird atlas, whose data come from the 1980s, the new report finds various changes in the populations.

One of the most important findings of the ornithologists: Many birds are drawn ever further north to breed.

Over the past three decades, the breeding areas of European populations have shifted by an average of about one kilometer each year.

Compared to the older data, the nursery of many birds is now about 28 kilometers further north.

Some species such as the little egret (Egretta garzetta) or the bee-eater (Merops apiaster), which actually prefer the Mediterranean region, now also reach Great Britain, France or the Netherlands due to milder temperatures.

Around 35 percent of all native breeding bird species have been able to enlarge their area in the past 30 years.

These include forest birds and animals that are protected by international law.

One such winner, according to the report, is the black-headed gull (Larus melanocephalus).

It lives mainly on the coasts of Central Europe, but sometimes also flies inland.

Overall, it appears that species that are protected do better than those that are not.

That is important news within the European Union. 

Climate change and land use are the causes

A quarter of all species now have a smaller breeding area.

According to the authors, these include many birds that can be found primarily on farmland, but also the European roller (Coracias garrulus), which breeds in tree hollows.

Sergi Herrando from the EBBA2 coordination team said these losses were particularly evident in the Mediterranean region as well as Western and Central Europe.

"Regions in the north of the continent have increased in species while the areas in the south have suffered losses."

The experts see climate change and changes in land use as the main causes of the changes.

The habitat of animals disappears with fewer green spaces.

The demand for arable land and urban areas is increasing.

One of the more positive results that the atlas shows: Despite the change, only a few native species have completely disappeared.

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joe / dpa

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2020-12-05

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