Transcripts of Bird_Temp-4

[Music throughout] Global temperatures are on the rise. As our climate changes, Earth is seeing more extreme and unusual weather. In 2019, the National Audubon Society reported that two-thirds of America’s birds are threatened by climate change. That’s 389 species in danger of extinction. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are trying to figure out how temperature affects bird biodiversity across the country, which will help conservationists figure out where to prioritize their efforts. The team used data from Landsat’s thermal sensor, called TIRS, to map temperature across the United States. They also used a computer algorithm to map small-scale temperature differences. For example, a grove of trees in an open field. The algorithm compares the temperature variability in one area to those adjacent to it. The team then compared their temperature data to bird biodiversity across the country, focusing on the winter months and birds that don’t migrate to find warmer temperatures. Turns out, large-bodied bird species tend to choose places with higher overall temperatures. But for small birds and climate-threatened species, having a habitat with variable temperatures seems to be more important. The researchers speculate that some birds may use pockets of warmer habitat – like a nest, a snow burrow, or a patch of dense tree cover – to wait out a cold spell or weather event. In the study, temperature explained about a third of why some areas have more bird species than others. But that still leaves nearly two-thirds unaccounted for. To protect many bird species from extinction, scientists will have to find other factors affecting bird biodiversity.