As temperatures rise and climate patterns are altered, we can expect to see accelerated changes to wildlife.
For raptors, climate change is affecting the distribution of several species as a response to habitat shifts and it imposes modifications to the migration patterns. Climate change is also involved in the decline of several species as migration across expanding deserts becomes more and more difficult and as their breeding and wintering habitats no longer suit their needs.
Changes in the timing of migration are also occurring as warmer, wetter winters force some migratory species to migrate to breeding grounds earlier. Climate change is also affecting the presence, abundance, and distribution of prey and increasing the competition for territories.
More research is needed to understand the full magnitude of the impacts of climate change on raptors. In a survey of European bird populations, Moller et al. (2008) showed large-scale population declines in species that do not change the timing of their migration.
To mitigate to this growing threat, CMS developed a working group on climate change to guide the Scientific Council’s decisions on climate change. The working group has the task of reviewing the impact of climate change on migratory species, and of identifying and prioritizing options for intervention by CMS Parties.