The extending of ranges of some bird species at the north-eastern border of their distribution due to intra-century climate changes
Authors: Glushenkov O.V.
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The paper presents an overview of the phenomenon of range expanding of birds located at the northeastern limit of their range. The study area is located in the Volga-Kama Krai in the Chuvash Republic, adjacent to the River Volga. It is situated northwards and southwards of 56° N, and westwards and eastwards of 49° E, in a band of about 400 km. The problem is considered in aspect of the intra-century changes of climatic conditions in the region and in European Russia as a whole. The analysis of the relationship between the range expansion of some bird species and the intra-century climate changes was based on ornithological and climatological material available for the study area. We have used material on climate change in the Chuvashian Republic and Volga-Kama Krai since 1926, taking into account recent data of Roshydromet and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The idea of this study was based on the theory of climatic cycles of different periodicity, the theory of recent global climate change and the hypothesis of cyclic dynamics of the ranges of waterfowl in the context of centuries-old and intra-century climate change in Northern Eurasia. In the framework of the problem, we have studied ornithological material dated from the late 19th till the early 21st century, authored by Bogdanov, Ruzsky, Zhitkov, Buturlin, Artobolevsky, Volchanetsky, Pershakov, Popov, Glushenkov and others. As shown the intra-century climate changes do quite likely affect the northward and northeastward range expansion of such bird species as Cygnus olor, Anas strepera, Aythya ferina, Hieraaetus pennatus, Aquila heliaca, and Fulica atra. Climate changes can also be judged on the base of the shift in the arrival timing to earlier dates for some birds. It is most clearly manifested for early arriving species (Grus grus, Ardea cinerea, Actitis hypoleucos). It is also true for the later arriving Pernis apivorus and Merops apiaster whose existence depends on the emergence time of insects. Climate changes are not the only determining factors affecting the bird distribution. Ecological factors are also important, along with the mentioned above. The range expansion of species in anthropogenically disturbed landscapes occurs by means of complex chains of ecological relationships. Examples of Haematopus ostralegus and Sterna albifrons show the reasons for the reduction and restoration of species ranges due to the change in the effect of an anthropogenic factor. Thus, the range expansion of some bird species to the north and northeast is quite likely related to the centuries-old and intra-century climate changes. However, we do not consider climate warming as the only determining factor in the abundance increase and further range expanding for some birds at the range limits in temperate zone. In order to a better understanding of the impact of climate changes on birds, it is needed to investigate how modern climate changes in the temperate regions influence on the animals which serve as food for birds, and, as a consequence, how these processes impact the number of nesting pairs and the survival of young animals.