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Climate Change Is Now Killing Birds in Midair

Gizmodo: “Since this year hasn’t been spooky enough, thousands of migratory birds are now dropping dead across the Southwest. In late August, biologists got word about dozens of birds falling from the sky at the White Sands Missile Range and White Sands National Monument, both in southern New Mexico. Since then, people throughout Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and as far north as Nebraska have discovered the dead creatures scattered along hiking paths, golf courses, and even their own driveways. Finches, flycatchers, swallows, warblers, and bluebirds are among the species that have been reported. It’s not uncommon for some birds to die during their autumn migration, but not in these numbers and certainly not plummeting out of the sky in droves…

Scientists aren’t yet sure what’s causing this mass bird death, but researchers at Cornell University’s ornithology lab suspect it has to do with the smoke from the historic wildfires burning in the western U.S., which has drifted across the country on easterly breezes. They cite a 2017 study, which shows that exposure to smoke can lead to immunosuppression, respiratory distress, and other severe health problems for avian populations. Another possibility is that the birds may be having trouble adapting to the unusually dry heat that the Southwest has seen of late amid the worsening climate crisis. These conditions can be unfavorable to the insect populations that migratory birds rely on for food, which studies show has caused bird populations to decrease…”

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