The continuous rise in temperatures worldwide appears to have a drastic effect on one of Earth’s most impressive songbirds.
A team of researchers from Spain discovered that over two decades, the wingspan of nightingales has decreased.
Scientists have linked the phenomenon to the changing climate of the region. They believe that the decrease of the nightingale’s wingspan might affect its capability of migrating in the winter.
An Endangered Species
The nightingale is known for its ability to produce more than a thousand unique sounds, in comparison to only 340 by skylarks.
The decrease in wingspan is a consequence of many factors, including deer eating their preferred nesting sites, alongside climate change.
The species spends winter in sub-Saharan Africa. It covers vast distances during its flight.
However, wing size is essential to the nightingale’s endeavor to survive.
Scientists have analyzed 20 years’ worth of wing dimension measurements in two populations of Nightingales.
The shocking result is that the wing length of the nightingales has decreased relative to their body size.
Dr. Carolina Remacha, from Madrid’s Complutense University, said:
“Our results show that spring is delayed, and the intensity of the summer drought is higher, which means a shorter optimal breeding period for the birds.”
Researchers believe that birds like the nightingale usually adapt to the demands of migration by developing longer wings, but it seems like climate change negatively affects that process
The reason is surprising – A shorter breeding season made researchers assume that the most successful birds are the ones with decreased wingspan and small families.
However, they believe that it all comes with a price:
“If these changes are the response to the new environment, then obviously the ones that have been selected, the ones with shorter wings, are the optimal nightingales for the new situation,” which means that future generations will also be affected. It might all become the norm for related species as well.