Great Tits Could be Global Warming's Next Victim (The Bird, That Is)

Just when it seemed the impacts of climate change couldn't get worse, scientists are now warning that Global Warming could potentially drive great tits to extinction. Within the next century, early springs are set to impact several bird species, the great tit included, according to a new study from researchers at Oxford University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The concern stems from the fact that birds, great tits included, rely on specific foods, like larvae, that are only available at certain points during the year. If the birds cannot adapt to these changes fast enough, it could spell disaster for these species, The Independent reported. 

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So how exactly does this work? With warmer winters and early springs, trees begin to bud earlier, prompting the larvae that eat plants to hatch earlier in the year. If the great tit, which requires a lot of larvae to feed their chicks, can't catch up, they could potentially face extinction. 

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"The research team said in the worst case scenario, in which larvae appeared about 24 days earlier than the current norm in 2020, whole populations of great tits will simply disappear by the year 2100 because they aren't able to find enough food for their chicks," Harry Cockburn, the publication's environmental reporter, wrote of this phenomenon. 

Yet there are other factors at play that could potentially speed up this occurrence. "This could happen even if great tits also modify their behaviour more quickly in a rapidly changing environment. The larvae might be changing even faster than the great tits," Emily Simmonds, an associate professor of biology at the Norwegian university, explained.  In other words, our days admiring great tits could easily be numbered. 

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Since then, bird lovers everywhere have taken to social media to share their distress in response to the upsetting bird news. 

"As a huge admirer of great tits, this news makes me sincerely saddened," tweeted user @haniballecter4.

 
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"WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING," wrote user @Conserv33672693 "SOMEBODY GET BILL NYE OR PAMELA ANDERSON ON THE LINE QUICK!" he added, likely referencing Anderson's long history of animal rights activism.

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Other users asked for updates on this dire situation. "Please keep us abreast of the situation," requested @INDYBEARSFAN68.

 
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Yet this environmental threat seems to have struck a chord with some corporations, a rare occurrence with climate change-related issues. "Please no!" tweeted a small film company after hearing the news. 

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Reader, I often attempt to be funny in my work (attempt being the operative word here), but the potential extinction of great tits is no laughing matter. Climate change is a threat to all of us, yet once our great tits start to feel the impacts of such catastrophic events, it seems the issue has gone too far. We must push ourselves to do better -- reduce, reuse, recycle, pushing for initiatives regarding renewable energy and plastic waste, taking tangible steps to save our beautiful and bountiful environment. After all, a world without great tits is not one worth living in. 

For more internet nonsense, follow Carly on Instagram @HuntressThompson_ and on Twitter @TennesAnyone

 

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