Lot: the birds of the set are starting to feel the effects of global warming

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Temperatures, sea level rise, retreat and melting of glaciers … global warming has many environmental impacts. The Lotois birds are beginning to suffer the effects, and not necessarily for the better.

The three parts of the IPCC report, the last of which was published in April, warn people of the urgency to act in the face of global warming. The environmental consequences are many. Windy on all sides, birds have no way out.

At the LPO Occitanie mission, Lot, several phenomena are beginning to be observed. Even Nathan Finderie, in charge of environmental research, warns: these changes are of course related to global warming, but not only. Other factors may sometimes be taken into account, such as habitat loss (especially with agricultural mechanization, use of phytosanitary products, disappearance of hedges, etc.).

Migration flows are disrupted

The biggest fluctuations in the lives of birds due to climate change are related to shifts in migratory flows. Traditionally, most birds spend the winter in Africa and return to Europe in the spring. But winters are milder here, and some species no longer find it useful to migrate, a journey that is often long and perilous (for example, the need to brave sandstorms in the Sahara). .

Hoopoe Eurasian breastfeeding.
DDM JC Boyer

This is the case of onomatopoeia. This little bird, with its recognizable shrill voice, is still in the middle. Some individuals continued to migrate and only returned to the Lot between March and August, the usual route. But others become sedentary in the department. If Lot’s winters continue to be milder, the entire population is likely to stay in the area, and that’s good.

Betting to move, or not, remains individual to individual. Risks exist for both solutions: dangers arise during migration that can kill some birds. And conversely, if the winter becomes colder, it is the sedentary people who will be at risk of perishing, unaccustomed to this kind of temperature. “This does not jeopardize the survival of the species at the moment,” Nathan Findie commented, as it splits in half.

Furthermore, between birds that have been sedentary for a long time and new arrivals, a competition for food can be created. Especially in winter when resources are scarce.

Difficulty feeding

Foraging can become a complicated task. First, migratory birds arrive two days earlier every 10 years. With global warming, spring is increasing by seven days over the same period. Nathan Findie observes: “This is definitely going to make a change. The birds are trying to adapt, but they’re no longer migrating at the optimal time to nest and feed their chicks. could lead to a sharp decline in population.

Another danger: extremes (such as drought or frost) occur during periods that are usually temperate. “The birds will have a hard time feeding the chicks,” explains the researcher. And whoever says that reproduction is poor, says that the population is in decline and therefore the extinction of an entire species.

The emergence of new species

With warming temperatures, the team noticed the emergence of new species, which had until then lived in much warmer countries. This is the case for the white kite, a small raptor. These birds are mainly found in Africa, but in recent years they have migrated to Europe. They are now found in the white Quercy. Currently, they coexist very well with the iconic kestrel.

White kite deposited in Lot.

White kite deposited in Lot.
DDM JC Boyer

In general, species in general, which adapt very quickly to changes in the environment, will have few problems. In the Lot, this is the case of the magpie. A slightly different observation in specialized species, which can only live in a single environment. Like the tail of the ortolan is found in abundance in this division. This little bird lives in wooded areas, such as grasslands or lawns, and nowhere else.

Read more:
A lot: the IPCC report worries, including the head of the Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels

Help conserve wildlife

LPO Occitanie, Lot’s delegation, is committed to protecting the environment and especially to different species, whether they fly or not. For example, special attention is paid to the ocell lizard (the largest lizard in Europe), which has a very important stronghold on the Lot. This species, which is classified as “Validable” on the national red list of threatened species established by the IUCN in 2015, needs to live in open environments to facilitate their movement. With global warming, this reptile moves one kilometer per generation (know that they live an average of 5 to 6 years). Therefore, it is necessary to clear the surrounding rocks so that this eroded lizard can continue to exist in the Lot.

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