Climate change is making birds smaller

University of Michigan evolutionary biologist Benjamin Winger stands with some of the migratory songbirds used in a large study of avian responses to climate warming. ©Roger Hart/University of Michigan Photography.

When birds strike buildings in Chicago, they sometimes end up in the Field Museum of Natural History, where they’re kept as specimens. This unique collection has helped give researchers a glimpse into a barely perceptible change in migratory birds’ bodies over recent decades. They are getting smaller, apparently due to climate change.

“Warming temperatures seem to be having a pretty consistent and almost universal effect on a large number of different species, regardless of other aspects of their biology,” Benjamin Winger, a University of Michigan biologist and senior author of the study published in Ecology Letters, told the Washington Post.

Over four decades, Winger and his team found, birds’ overall body size has decreased and their wings have gotten slightly longer.

Read more in the Washington Post.