Shorebird declines likely due to climate change

Arctic shorebirds such as the semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) are facing higher nest predation rates, likely due to climate change. ©Western Arctic National Parklands

Climate change may be the main reason behind a great decline in shorebird populations around the world, researchers found. After looking at 38,191 nests of 111 species across the world, the team found that rates of daily nest predation in the Arctic in particular have increased threefold in the last 70 years. Usually, the tropics see more nest predation because of a greater variety of predators, prompting many shorebirds to migrate to colder regions. But the Arctic is proving to not be so safe, researchers found, and nest predation is also rising in more temperate zones in Europe, Asia and North America. The authors point to climate change, which is leading predators to search for alternative prey as altered snow cover causes declines in their traditional prey.

Read more in the Yorkshire Post or check out the study in Science.