Scientists Fear For Migratory Bird Habitats In New Study

The destruction of migratory bird habitats along their long flight paths pose a serious threat to these seasonal travelers according to new study.

Scientists Fear For Migratory Bird Habitats In New Study

Migratory bird study is published in Science

Migratory birds face species decline and possible even extinction owing to the fact that a large majority must fly across areas that are not being properly protected by the nations that are home to these stopover and crossing points.

On a paper published in the journal Science yesterday, scientist studied the breeding grounds, wintering locations, routes and stopover spots of 1,451 migratory while assessing an impressive 450,000 protected areas like reserves and national parks.

The results were somewhat shocking with the team deeming that 1,324 or 91% journeyed through areas that were not be sufficiently protected against development and other factors key to the birds trip and return.

“This is important because migratory species cover vast distances and rely on an intact series of habitats in which they can rest and feed on their long journeys,” said conservation scientist Richard Fuller of the University of Queensland and Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).

“If even a single link in this chain of sites is lost for a species, it could lead to major declines or even its extinction.

Asia and Africa are for the birds according to study

Sorry for the pun, and areas in North Africa, the coasts of East Asia and Central Asia appear to be the least hospitable areas for its guests with few protected areas. Where there are protected areas, the scientists say there is far too little overlap on migratory birds’ routes for the birds to feel good about their long journeys.

This is especially troubling for smaller birds that need feed in order to have sufficient energy for their trips south according to Claire Rung also of Claire Runge of CEED and the University of Queensland. Runge, who also holds a post at the University of California – Santa Barbara says, “Loss of these critical sites means they no longer have the energy needed to make the journeys, and they simply perish along the way.”

The two authors of the study are calling for more protection and communication between nations in order to give these creatures a better trip south and then back home again.