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Study: Birds adjusting slowly to climate change

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A new study based on the North American Christmas Bird Count finds birds have taken decades to adjust their ranges in response to warming winters.

Frank La Sorte of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology was lead author of the study published by the Journal of Animal Ecology. He says animals adjust to rising minimum winter temperatures by shifting their ranges northward. But the study of 59 bird species found it’s not easy or quick.

La Sorte says black vultures have spread northward over 35 years as far as Massachusetts, where winters are similar to Baltimore’s in 1975. But the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker hasn’t moved, possibly because of specific habitat needs.

La Sorte says species that don’t track climate changes may wind up in habitats that don’t suit them well.

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