South African Bird Die-Off a Sign of Climate Crisis - Scientist

Heat-associated mortality events usually happen in the scorching Australian Outback, and their arrival in South Africa has Professor Andrew McKechnie worried, Daily Maverick's Shaun Smillie writes. "Yes, I believe it is climate change and the reality is that climate change is increasing the frequency and the intensity of heatwaves," the professor at the University of Pretoria's Department of Zoology and Entomology says. 

"We have evidence now across a number of species, both in the Kalahari and in other arid zone ecosystems in Australia; in the U.S. as well," says Dr. Susan Cunningham, a senior lecturer at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and a member of the Hot Birds Research Project. "This evidence shows that some bird species are spending more time trying to stay cool as they deal with increased numbers of hot days. Birds are forced to shelter in the shade when they should be foraging."

"We have got over 15 years of data on these birds that has allowed us to track changes through time, and we can see that these hot summers are causing problems for those birds in terms of their ability to get enough food into their chicks and their ability to survive the following winter after a hot summer," explains Cunningham.



(file photo).

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.