Scientists studying the 2020 incident in which thousands of migratory birds dropped to their deaths over New Mexico believe that it was possible due to climate change.
Source: KVIA ABC-7/Youtube
Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers who are studying the mysterious mass bird death incident believe that climate change may be to blame. Hundreds of millions of birds fly south in the winter and north in the summer each year but now, studies are finding that climate change and extreme weather patterns could possibly be interfering with the annual cycle. Even the smallest of shifts can disrupt entire ecosystems.
Jeanne Fair, a scientist with the Los Alamos National Lab, said that the bird who died had experienced three different extreme weather events.
“It was literally within a few days that we saw a mass mortality of birds,” Fair told Albuquerque TV station KOB. “We had had some extreme high temperatures in Colorado and New Mexico, and then we had a cold front come in that that was sort of extreme cold event. At the same time, we had large catastrophic forest fires in the region, and so it was very, very smoky as well.”
Fair added that those stressors pushed the birds that are usually resilient to their limit, and researchers fear that this could happen again soon.
Tim Wright, a New Mexico State University professor, is partnering with the Los Alamos National Lab and students that are trained in disaster ecology, a fairly new field of research that will, unfortunately, become more and more necessary.
“Something new is happening. Climate change is increasing the frequency and the severity of these weather-related events,” Wright told KOB.
“It is one in which we try to understand how these disasters are occurring, what leads to these disasters, and also how we might be able to mitigate them and lessen their impact in the future,” Wright added.
Students are now going to study the massive 2020 bird die-off to better understand how climate affects migratory birds, and they hope one day, their research will be able to predict future weather disasters to be able to save these birds before it’s too late.
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