Peruvian Mountain Birds Take an “Escalator to Extinction”

Credit: Francisco Enríquez/NBII Image Gallery on Wikipedia Public Domain

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As the climate warms, tropical birds living in the mountains are retreating to higher elevations to avoid the heat. What happens when they run out of mountain slope to escape to?

Around the world, species are fleeing warming temperatures from climate change. For those living on mountains, however, they face a hard truth: Once they’ve retreated to the top of a mountain, they may have nowhere left to go.

Tropical birds are particularly at risk to rising temperatures. The birds are born, live, and die within the same section of woods, and they don’t migrate like temperate bird species often do.

Now, researchers have found that tropical birds living at high elevations are disappearing and that temperature increases are to blame. The study, which retraces the steps of a survey in Peru conducted 30 years ago, pinpoints local extinctions that are already occurring because of a warming climate.

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