Climate Change and the Evolution of Birds By James Reed
Here is yet another reason why I believe that climate change, even if it was occurring, is nothing to worry about; it is helping birds evolve in intelligence, and that just has to be a good thing, because from my experience, given the way birds poop on everything and everybody, they sorely need more birdy IQ points:
“Climate change is forcing birds to find new and 'extraordinary' ways to survive including using bread to bait fish and dropping mussels on rocks to break the shell. Researchers from McGill University, Montreal studied data on more than 8,600 bird species to look at changes in their feeding and hunting techniques over time. They found that the changing climate has caused some notable alterations including evidence of birds using boats and even trains as a hunting platform. Birds have also been seen opening packets of sugar on cafe terraces in their bid to counter the loss of habitat from global warming and human urban development. First author, Dr Simon Ducatez, an evolutionary biologist, said species that learn tricks to cope with challenging circumstances are less vulnerable to extinction. 'We long suspected this relationship between innovation and survival must exist, but now we have been able to verify it quantitatively. 'We have also been able to verify the greater the number of innovations described for a species, the greater the probability its populations are stable or increasing.' Ducatez and his team analysed data on over 8,600 bird species - including more than 3,800 novel feeding techniques spanning nearly 60 years. The observations from bird watchers in the UK show significant changes in the behaviour of some of the more successful bird species. One strand of observations revealed that 'great egrets have been seen using a piece of bread or insects as fishing bait,' Ducatez said. 'This is a fascinating behaviour also occasionally observed in other herons and some gulls,' the expert in biology discovered from studying the observations. It is believed they got the idea by watching anglers do similar things by chucking bread into the water, or using maggots or worms on their their hooks to tempt fish. 'A peregrine falcon even used a train to attack birds as they were flushed by its passage through the forest,' said Ducatez. 'Another was observed using fishing vessels as platform for hunting petrels at sea, a food source otherwise unavailable.' The peregrine falcon is the world's fastest animal, capable of dive bombing at more than 200mph. Dr Ducatez said: 'Great cormorants have been watched timing their fishing strategy with the movement of commercial ferries at a wharf. 'They use the strong currents generated by the propellers to catch confused fish.' All these examples were captured around Britain, but the phenomenon of altered avian activity stretches to every country.”
We can expect as the evolution of bird intelligence goes, that very soon, maybe even before the economies recover from the coronavirus, birds will be smart enough to create more global warming, by driving cars and planes, hence making more global warming, increasing their intelligence in an infinite regression. It will one day be, not the present Planet of the Apes, but Planet of the Birds!