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Predators in Greenland are struggling for nests due to climate change

Ornithologist and Nordic Predatory Bird Specialist Kurt Burnham warns against the drastic impacts of climate change on the stock of birds of prey in Greenland. In The Atlantic, it describes how the warming dramatically expands the existing area of ​​migratory falcons, who then push out hunting tricks from traditional nests.

"Global warming and climate change can sometimes resemble a passive phenomenon: the animal simply wakes up in the morning, around it warmer, and its food source disappears," says Burnham. "In Greenland, however, this change has a much more aggressive form for the predators present." In 1970, he did not nest a single pair of migratory falcons in Greenland, two years later, eight were recorded. And in 1999 it was already 170. This undeniable success of nature conservation, ie the return of a population of birds of prey, which in the 1950s not only spilled DDT sprays on American soil, has its less pleasant side.

These began to appear gradually, with observable changes in the Nordic climate. Warmer years have so far recorded slogans, prolonged their nesting season, and increased success in bringing out young people. And they also significantly expand their Nordic area. " Really hot day in Greenland in the nineties? He had around + 4.5 ° C, " says Burnham. "And such a hot Green Day today? About fifteen, sixteen degrees. " This temperature difference makes the original good news bad. And for the man who dedicated his life to the protection of falcons.

Twenty years ago, the nesting falcons held strictly the western tip of Greenland to move their nests more northward about ten years ago. And now they are nesting on the northernmost cliffs of rock cliffs. "In 2016, for example, we counted 11 nesting pairs up to Thule Air Force Base," says Burnham. "And one nestled 240 miles from her. That's about 1200 kilometers from the northern ice pole, something that's historically absolutely unprecedented. " Why would that be a problem?

These harsh Nordic habitats have been owned by other tenants for millennia. Nordic hunters who are better adapted to local conditions. They are somewhat larger and heavier than falcons, but not so successful in the air raids that are now increasingly occurring in Greenland. "It's like dropping F-16 and Cessna," says Burnham. The causes of these conflicts are several, but the main thing is that there is only a very limited number of nesting possibilities.

Sokoli or rarozi do not set the nests directly, but on the rocky outcrops settle the abandoned nest of nests on the ravens and other birds. Many of these nests are practically constructed only from frozen bird droppings, some of which can be dated back to 2500 years. "It's fascinating to see that some of these shared nests still remember times before the Roman Empire," says Burnham. However, these age-old nests are not enough for migratory falcons and year-long living tricks at the same time. And in case of disputes the falcons have the top.

"What we see is that climate change is triggered by an invasion that is very, very fast,"
Burnham says. "I do not see its results at all optimistic. I think that in ten or fifteen years, raros in Greenland will simply disappear because of falcons. " Both species are predominantly among the endangered species that do not compete in other areas. But here's their body-to-body conflict. But the anticipated winner of the interdisciplinary engagement, the migratory falcon, will not be happy for the ornithologists for a long time.

The warming that now helps falcons further spread to the north also changes the character and the total precipitation over the area. The place of snow is now more raining. Summer snow showers, spread over the three-month horizon, are now in the form of water in three hours. And the recessed old nest with such rainfall quickly fills up. The result may be a very rapid subcooling of eggs, and the overall failure of nesting. So, if the invasion of the falcons in the north of Greenland persists, we will not only get the final squeezing of the marsupials from the area, but perhaps also the liquidation of the falcons, which makes the weather impossible to conquer the young from the conquered nests.

Burnham is among the top American experts on predators and their protection as well as scientific studies devoted to more than thirty years. We can say he has it in the genes. His father, also a passionate environmentalist and guardian of the predators, was one of the founders of the so-called Peregrine Fund, the Sokol Relief Rescue Fund, in the seventies. He continues to work in his work, whether as a consultant to the World Wildlife Rescue Center, or in the High Artcic Institute of Research. For his (and, of course, dozens of devoted colleagues), success has so far attributed the return of nesting populations of sokols to the United States, decimated in the 1950s by agricultural spraying. The current situation in Greenland puts him in an unresolved problem: the two species of endangered predators that he protects are now facing each other. And the winner will be equally convicted of extinction.

Author: Radomír Dohnal

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