Mountain birds are disappearing at an escalated rate because of global warming and, soon, they are going to be extinct.
A new research rethreaded the 1985 expedition of the Peruvian Andes. Researchers documented how the bird population in the area has shifted due to the changing climate, and they also found that some have disappeared. In the new survey, out of the 16 mountain-top species found in 1985, eight have gone missing.
The researchers also have reasons to believe that four out of the eight missing birds might have been eradicated from the site. Based on analyses of audio recordings, as well as field searchers, the study identified four of the missing birds: Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, Hazel-fronted Pygmy-Tyrant, Variable Antshrike, and Fulvous-breasted Flatbill.
"Mountaintop species are running out of mountain," stated Benjamin Freeman, a zoologist at the University of British Columbia and the lead author of the study. "The next step is extinction."
How Climate Change Is Affecting The Birds Of Peruvian Andes
John W. Fitzpatrick, the director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the man who led the 1985 survey, said that the increase of the annual average temperatures in the region has caused the birds to move upslope. Since 1985, the area has experienced an increase of around 1-degree Fahrenheit, causing the shift.
The new survey supports a previous study by Freeman, which revealed that 70 percent of bird species in a New Guinean mountain have shifted upslope. The researchers think that the same could be happening in tropical mountains around the world.
While none of the birds are considered endangered, the research exposes how the birds that are already living in high-altitude areas are moving even higher as a reaction to the rapid changing of the climate. This, the researchers fear, could lead to local extinction of bird species.
If the average temperature around the world continues to warm, tropical species are expected to react by shifting upslope.
The new survey covered the same 1,415-meter ridge as the original 1985 study. The researchers also used the same methods as the original survey. Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.