Scientists: Climate Change Killing Birds In New Mexico

Aug 26, 2018

Credit Rio Grande Sierra Club

  LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Scientists believe a New Mexico plateau named for birds is seeing them die off due to climate change.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Jeanne Fair, a Los Alamos National Laboratory ornithologist in the BioScience Division, and other scientists at the laboratory recently released the results of a 10-year bird study on the Pajarito Plateau which shows "a 73 percent decrease in abundance and a 45 percent decrease in richness (variety of species) from 2003 to 2013."

Scientists believe a massive piñon tree die-off on the plateau may be a harbinger of things to come throughout the high-desert Southwest, where piñon trees — and the birds that frequent them — are potential markers for the effects of global warming.

The Pajarito Plateau, tucked in the Jemez Mountains, is the Spanish term for little birds.