Climate change threatens winged harbinger of spring
A sure sign of spring in northern Europe is the arrival of the Arctic tern bird, but ahead of the UN’s World Migratory Bird Day experts fear the warming of the oceans in its nesting grounds in the northern Atlantic is threatening its very existence.
A globe-trotting adventurer
The Arctic tern is a great traveller, and spends most of the year on the move, with long periods over the ocean. Its breeding grounds cover both the northern and southern polar regions. In Europe, during the summer months, it can be found from Brittany in the south, to Iceland, Greenland, and Svalbard in the north.
Come autumn, the terns head south in the direction of Antarctica where they stay during the northern winter. However, they don’t fly directly from north to south, and an individual bird has been known to have covered almost 100,000 kilometres, or twice the circumference of the planet.
A big adventure
“When terns reach Antarctica, they stay close to the ice-brim, and move gradually eastward”, says Guðmundur A. Guðmundsson, animal ecologist at the Institute of Natural History in Iceland. “Swedish and Dutch birds go all the way towards Australia, but the Icelandic and Greenland birds return earlier to the Weddell Sea in the Southern Arctic. From there they set off north in March and up to one and a half months later they reach their destination in our country”.
In the case of Iceland, the terns announce spring in the latter part of April, when they arrive to nest. When the chicks are ready to fledge in August they fly to the south, but not in a straight line, rather in an S-shape trajectory. One of their well-known stop-overs is Cape Town in South Africa in November.#globalwarming #climatechange #carboncompensation #bluesky #climateemergency #climatecrisis #blueskye #blueskyefoundation #compensate #greentechexchange #zerocarbon #climatenews #blueskyelife #elonmusk #billgates #greentech #nasa #nasaclimate #greenfacts
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