The modern-day hummingbird is a bird of wonder, weighing less than an ounce and possessing a territorial nature with the ability to chase larger birds, like hawks, away from their domain. But these colorful and ethereal birds are in trouble.
Hummingbirds and hundreds of other species of birds are becoming increasingly threatened due to environmental and weather conditions affecting migration. Climate change is becoming a more immediate problem than ever before, producing a shift in weather patterns and temperatures.
A seven-year study published by the National Audubon Society warns of the rising threat of climate change affecting bird migration factors. The study reports a significant northern shift of migratory patterns of 588 different species of North American birds due to climate change.
What do these changes mean?
Hummingbirds, specifically the Allen’s hummingbird and the Rufous hummingbird, and various other birds, may be classified as endangered, or threatened, due to loss of habitat and food. Because they are migrating further north, their opportunities to find food and other mating birds, are being decreased.
Historically, these environmental shifts affecting bird migration factors took tens of thousands of years, but similar results can be seen in the next century, according to David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, in an interview with NPR.
What can you do?
- Continue feeding and growing flowers that attract your regular hummingbirds. Keep feeders clean to promote bird health.
- Increase conservation efforts in your community to safeguard critical habitat and curb greenhouse gas emissions by informing others and contacting local decision makers and politicians, as advised by the National Audubon Society.
- Preserving critical coastal habitats is crucial for sustained bird migration factors. Many birds travel across the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season. These birds can make the 600-mile trip all at once if necessary, but if they are faced with fighting unfavorable winds with no stopover areas or areas with little food supplies, they are likely to not survive. We can ensure that these birds survive migration by making certain that there are enough birds populating the area and plenty of bountiful land to feed, bathe, and mate.
Hummingbirds and other migratory birds do not have to suffer from climate change affecting environmental conditions. We have the power to defy these effects. What have you done in your community to preserve bird migration factors?