Global Science Report is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”
In a recent Global Science Report, we posted some good news coming out of California’s Sierra Nevada, where climate change (from whatever cause), has been partially responsible for a greening of the organo state. Technically, the biomass in the montane forests has been on the increase over the past several decades.
Turns out climate change is for the birds, too. Yes, little Eastern Bluebirds (which almost went extinct because of habitat damage)—raising their young in cute houses, awakening us with their melodious songs, providing free cat food, and selectively messing only on my car. What’s not to like? And who wouldn’t like more birds? And if you live in the Eastern United States, there is a climate-related increase in cat purring because global (actually, local/regional) warming is increasing the range of songbirds.
A new study appearing in the journal Global Change Biology, authored by Karine Princé and Benjamin Zuckerberg from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, finds that:
[A] shifting winter climate has provided an opportunity for smaller, southerly distributed species to colonize new regions and promote the formation of unique winter bird assemblages throughout eastern North America.
The operative word here is “colonize.” In other words, they are spreading out from their home range, not moving north in lockstep.