THINK CLIMATE CHANGE IS FOR THE BIRDS?

Climate change has been big in political and social venues of discussion over the last decade. But it is also a catch-all euphemism for a term called “global warming.” The term was changed because no one can seem to explain the 20-year “pause” I warming that we are currently experiencing on Earth.

But there is little doubt that the climate is changing in some way.

The argument comes in as to whether this climate change is natural or if it’s man-made through our factories, vehicles and otherwise modern living. But while the cause is debatable, there is little question that there has been an effect from the planet warming up, especially over the last 100 years – present pause notwithstanding.

One of the big effects with climate change has been ferocity of wildfires (such as the current Mendocino fire in California, which became the largest fire in state history, covering an area equal to the sprawling city of Los Angeles), plus excessive droughts but some expanding ice caps at the same time. But if you want to see a tangible effect of climate change, take a look at what has happened to the bird population in the Mojave Desert of southern California.

According to research conducted regarding the population of aviary species in one of the hottest deserts in the world, climate change is being blamed (or credited) with a dramatic reduction in the bird population n in the Mojave Desert over the last 100 years.

Using the same survey methodologies that California biologist Joseph Grinnell used more than 100 years ago at the same 61 survey sites in the Mojave Desert, the researchers from the University of California Berkeley found that more than 40 percent of the more than 13-0 bird species Grinnell noted are now not present in the desert, if not entirely extinct.

The surveys found that nearly 40 of the breeding species of birds studied by Grinnell 100 years ago are now less likely to be found anywhere in the desert today.

The change was more dramatic than the study’s authors had theorized, as there was a balance in the numbers in the Central Valley area and in the Sierra Nevadas. The culprit for the dramatic change, according to the research, could be that climate change has allowed 2- percent less precipitation in the Mojave Desert now than was recorded 100 years ago.

Less water means less nourishment for the plants and birds in the hottest region of the country, where temperatures above 120 degrees are normal in the summers. Birds naturally will go where there is water, which means the Mojave Desert is not as much of a winter home as it once was, and it is nowhere near the summer oasis it was either.

This research now may beg the question, does climate change adversely impact species negatively? Only more research will determine that, but there is a definite data point that suggests it.