In a flap over flight for life

FLIGHT FRIGHT The whitethroat already travels 3,400 miles from sub-Saharan Africa to Britain - scientists say climate change could add another 342 miles to its journey

MIGRATING birds which travel thousands of miles to breed face a new enemy in their fight for survival - climate change. Scientists say birds which come to Britain in spring could be forced to travel hundreds of miles further north because of rising temperatures. The added distances could threaten the survival of some species, which already journey thousands of miles each year. Research published in the Journal of Biogeography warned of a significant impact on warblers, with black caps and whitethroats threatened. The whitethroat, which already travels around 3,400 miles from sub-Saharan Africa, could have to fly 342 miles further. Birds weighing as little as nine grammes are among the half a billion which migrate from Africa to Europe to find a suitable climate to breed before returning south in the winter. The RSPB says migration is already a high-risk time of year because of the dangers of running out of energy and the risk from predators. Professor Rhys Green of Cambridge University and the RSPB, is one of the authors of the research. He said: "These tiny birds make amazing journeys, pushing themselves to the limits of endurance. Anything that makes those journeys longer could mean the difference hetween life and death." The RSPB says the Dartford warbler has already shifted its breeding grounds from the south coast of England to East Anglia- and is heading north.

METRO 15/1/09

Metro 5/6/09