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Photo © Sarah Ludlow

New Study on Climate Change

Does climate change affect shorebird nests? Shorebird populations have declined significantly in the last 40 years, and the threats are varied. A new study used records from NestWatch along with various museum databases to examine how climate change might affect the nesting phenology of three shorebird species. According to the study, which looked at the period 1852–1989, the three focal species had differing reactions to warming spring temperatures. Willets nested earlier as temperatures increased, whereas Black-necked Stilts nested later. Wilson’s Plovers did not change the timing of nesting as spring temperatures increased. Precipitation was not an important predictor of when these three species began laying eggs.

This study demonstrates that each species responds differently to changing temperatures in their nesting area, making it hard to apply one-size-fits-all predictions about how climate change will impact nesting birds. The study is available here for anyone who would like to learn more.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology