The birds might disappear from parts of their range within a few decades
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Broad-tail hummingbirds that migrate to the Colorado high country in the spring may soon find that their arrival is out of synch with key nectar-providing plants they need to sustain themselves during breeding.
Graceful glacier lilies, for example, are one of the first flowers to bloom when the snow melts, but meticulous research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte shows they are blooming 17 days earlier than in the 1970s.
The hummingbirds are also migrating a bit earlier, but perhaps not soon enough — by the time they arrive, many of the nectar-laden plants have withered away. Biologists calculate that, if current trends continue, in two decades the hummingbirds will miss the first flowers entirely. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Broad-tailed Hummingbird, climate change, global warming, hummingbirds, phenology, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory | 2 Comments »