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Country News - 2005

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Global warming threat to Dales birds - RSPB

Thursday 03 February 2005

SEVERAL species of rare birds that breed in the uplands of the Yorkshire Dales and other Pennine areas are at risk from global warning, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reported yesterday.

Scientists from the RSPB and Newcastle and Manchester universities have found that the golden plover, a typical upland bird found on upland moors and peat bogs, is breeding significantly earlier than 20 years ago.

They say warmer springs have prompted the change and that the failure of the plover chick's main prey - daddy long legs (or craneflies) - to adapt at the same rate, could threaten the plover's future. Other upland species such as greenshank and red grouse could be affected in the same way.

Lead author, Dr James Pearce-Higgins, research biologist at the RSPB said: "The earliest hatching plover chicks, which normally have the best chance of survival, could in future struggle to find food, reducing their overall breeding success and threatening the population size.

"The golden plover has been protected by EU law since 1979, because of the important populations in the UK. Any escalation of climate change will put In peril not just the plover but other moorland and peatland species as well."

At a global warming summit in Exeter earlier this week, scientists reported that several other species were at risk, including British ladybirds, which are also under attack from invading American harlequin ladybirds.


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