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Nightingale wings shrink due to climate change

Nightingale wings shrink due to climate change


A study by the Complutense University of Madrid found that the wings of the night chanter Nightingale are shrinking due to the impact of climate change. Scientists say this change makes their long-distance migration to Africa more difficult and life-threatening. During the breeding period of male nightingales, they display singing voices for several hours every night. However, due to global warming, the number of nightingales has fallen sharply in recent decades, especially the number of male nightingales has been reduced to only about 5,000. It seems that the more they want to hear their singing It's getting harder.

Nightingales grow in Europe and parts of Asia and migrate to sub-Saharan Africa every winter. In the UK alone, the number of nightingales has fallen by 90% in the past 50 years. There are many reasons for the decrease in the number of nightingales, including deer competing for food, forcing nightingales to leave their homes, and their former habitats for human development. Other reasons are reduced dwarf forest operations. Pruning small trees to stimulate tree growth can make dwarf forests an ideal wintering ground for nightingales. The warming of the climate found in the current study makes the nightingale's wings smaller than the nightingale. It also occurs in other birds.

Researchers say there is plenty of evidence that climate change is affecting migratory birds, changing their migration arrival time, hatching date and appearance in the past few decades. In an analysis of migratory birds' data for nearly two decades, the researchers found that natural selection caused by climate change made the nightingale's wings smaller and shrinking their wings made it difficult for them to survive annual migration. Comparing the shape change and survival rate of the nightingale's wings in two communities in central Spain, the average wing length of the nightingale has decreased relative to the body size. After migrating to Africa, it is not easy for short-winged nightingales to return to where they originally lived.

The researchers believe that the change in the length of the wings and the decrease in survival rate are related to a phenomenon called migration gene packs. Migrating gene packs can affect the adaptation characteristics associated with migration, such as long wingspan, higher resting metabolic rate, greater egg volume and shorter lifespan. These characteristics are controlled by a group of connected genes. Natural selection pressure affects a certain characteristic, and other characteristics are also affected.

In recent decades, the rhythm of spring in central Spain has changed, and the summer drought is getting longer and longer. This makes the nightingale's time for raising young birds shorter and shorter. This means that the most successful are those that have fewer eggs and need to take care of young birds.

If natural selection supports a smaller number of hatched eggs, it may also eliminate all relevant features of the nightingale migration gene package.

When the number of hatched eggs becomes smaller, there is no intention to obtain shorter wings, and then there is a decline in survival rate. An example of what the experts call "adaptation" is the low survival rate. Here the organism's response to environmental changes is ultimately harmful and unhelpful. If we want to fully understand how birds adapt to the new environment to help them cope with the challenges of fast-paced changes in the world, the key is to call attention to the potential problems of maladaptive changes.

Scientists have known for a long time that certain individuals of certain animals live in habitats with higher temperatures and become smaller. But it is only recently that their size has been determined by climate change.

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