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Sustainability Quiz 39: Loss of birds

Sustainability Quiz 39: Loss of birds

Sustainability Quiz 39:A warming world is very bad news for Australian birds - both for the physical heat and the extensive loss by wildfires of the very habitat that might have protected them

The good news on a warming planet is that our winters warm, wand that means less birds die in winter. As bird survival in winter should increase slightly by the end of this century, the flip side problem is that many more birds will be killed by extreme heat as summers warm.

Climate change is having a huge affect on bird life, potentially reducing it to 11% of today’s population. What is killing birds?
    Warmer temperatures
    Not enough food

Warmer temperatures - heatwaves

Heatwaves linked to climate change have already led to mass deaths of birds and other wildlife around the world. Facing sustained heat on a warming planet, we need to better understand how birds respond when it gets hot. (It's not only birds. We need to stem the loss of biodiversity as the climate warms.)

CSIRO scientists research

A new study by 2 CSIRO researchers set out to fill this knowledge gap by examining Australian birds and sadly the findings were pretty awful.

The scientists found birds at the study sites died at a rate three times greater during a very hot summer compared to a mild summer. And the news gets worse. Under a pessimistic emissions scenario, just 11% of birds at the sites would survive. This has profound implications for biodiversity in Australia and underscores the urgent need to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help animals find cool places to shelter. 

Tree hollows

Hollows in tree bases are the cooler locations for shelter, but the best of these cool hollows are rare, found only in the largest eucalypt mallees – and many of these have been destroyed by climate enabled wildfires. 

What can you do?

Support the work of Wildlife Conservations with money or your time. And do everything you can to be more personally sustainable. 

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