By Sarah Brill Science & Technology Editor
Just a few miles upstream from the Yeshiva campuses lives a diverse population of birds. Frolicking in the Hudson Valley, birds like scarlet tanager rely on the food supply found in the Hudson River. The upper Hudson River and birds such as these rely on the worms and eels that live in the waters. During migration season, many birds will travel up the mountains and then over to other states to live through the duration of winter, making their way back to the Hudson Valley when the weather warms. Over the past few years, however, the migration pattern of birds has changed due to climate change.
Researcher Kyle Horton of Colorado State University found that “the spring migration is shifting earlier, and it seems to be driven by rising temperatures … researchers observed some shifts in the fall migration as well, although the relationship with temperature was much weaker.” This research was based on the migration of all birds, not just the Hudson Valley birds.
According to research done in the Hudson Valley, not only was the spring shift a problem, but the vegetation that birds feed on was also an issue. More recently, the vegetation that bird populations use to survive has been dying out due to climate change. As a result, the population of birds that would have normally lived at a lower altitude in the Hudson Valley are moving upwards. This is a problem for the obvious reason that those birds are not equipped to live at a higher altitude and will now have to face new predators they might not have faced before. The only reason for their migration upward is due to the temperature shift. Instead of a proper temperature being maintained at the lower altitude, now the proper temperature is being held at a higher altitude making it possible for the vegetation to grow and for the birds to feed off of it.
According to the National Audubon Society, “604 North American bird species [were studied] using 140 million records, including observations from bird fanciers and field biologists nationwide. They found that two-thirds of the birds studied would be threatened by climate change, but keeping global temperatures down could help up to 76 percent of them.”
These abnormal migratory patterns are occurring right in our backyard. Having these problems so close to home means that we can help to save the birds. You can visit the New York Audubon website to find ways that you can help save the birds. You can also donate to organizations such as the Hudson Valley Animal Rescue and Sanctuary to help birds who have been injured and other animals who have been injured due to the impact of climate change and human expansion.
There is still enough time to save the birds in the Hudson Valley, and there is something you can do to help, so why are you still reading this? Go out and donate, volunteer, and make a difference!