BSU Leads New Study On Bird Migration And Climate Change

May 23, 2017

A group of researchers, led by Boise State University, picked up $1.7 million Monday to study how climate change affects birds.

The grant comes from the Department of Defense. Led by BSU biological sciences professor Julie Heath, the team will use some of the money to study how climate change is affecting the migration of American kestrels, North America’s smallest falcon species.

The four-year study will also create a modeling system to help predict how other types of birds will react when weather patterns change. The team will create a video-game-like model that other researchers can use to plug in weather patterns and environments and see how migratory birds are affected.

Researchers believe that as the climate changes, some birds alter their behavior. Warmer winters could mean that birds shorten their migration or they may not migrate at all. That can affect breeding cycles.

The DOD has an interest because it manages 28 million acres of land in the U.S. that it uses for testing and training missions. It wants to use the study to figure out how to best respond to climate change.

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