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As climate shifts, birds follow

Most bird species in California’s Sierra Nevadas have altered their ranges during the last century in response to changes in temperature and rainfall

6:00pm, September 14, 2009

Climate has become warmer and wetter in parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains over the past century, and the vast majority of the birds there have shifted their range accordingly, a new study suggests.

Over many generations, some plant and animal species can adapt to a slowly changing climate. When climate changes suddenly and dramatically, however, creatures generally shift their range, moving to new areas that offer suitable conditions, says Morgan Tingley, an ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Most previous studies have focused on species’ responses only to temperature changes. But the new study by Tingl

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