LatinaLista — Mexico has the tenth largest population of birds in the world. Over 1,000 species either live year-round in Mexico to breed or migrate through the country as the seasons change. They range from the common-known parrots and hummingbirds to the exotic motmots and chachalacas. Given its unique variety of environments, the country is home to 115 bird species found only in Mexico.
But a new study by researchers at the University of Kansas, la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad finds that Mexico is losing its native birds. Unlike the habitat of the Monarch butterflies that has been threatened by man-made threats, Mexico’s native birds are being forced from their environments by Mother Nature.
According to the study, native birds are disappearing due to global climate change. A difference in rainfall and changing temperatures are factors enough to trigger a scenario where more native birds are being lost than born in Mexican ecosystems.
Crediting the extensive documentation of Mexican bird species done from 1920 to present day, and using specimens from natural history museums around the world, along with tapping a database of bird sightings supported by citizen scientists, researchers were able to detect where in the country changes in the bird populations occurred. They coupled that information with data captured by hundreds of weather stations documenting climate change across Mexico in the latter half of the 20th century, focusing on temperature and rainfall.
The revelation that the bird loss was due more to climate change than any other factor surprised researchers but gave them hope that the information found can be used by Mexican environmental policymakers when considering conservation measures to ensure the next generation will be able to witness different native species in person, rather by a picture in a book or on video.