Study collects and measures dead birds in Chicago, finds they’re getting smaller

New York Daily News 1 day ago

Birds are getting smaller at a not-so-alarming rate.

A study of more than 70,000 dead birds from 52 species between 1978 and 2016 found that every species has decreased in size, Reuters reported.

Every year, researchers in Chicago collected dead migratory birds that crashed into the city’s skyline and fell to the ground. They measured 70,716 birds in those 39 years, finding that the average body mass of the birds declined by 2.6% and leg bone length fell by 2.4%. Wingspan, on the other hand, rose 1.3%, according to Reuters.

Researchers unsurprisingly pointed the finger at climate change for the general decrease in bird size. Their logic is based on a classic ecological principle, Bergmann’s rule, which states that across broad populations, animals are generally smaller in warmer environments and larger in colder climes.

The study was certainly broad, including 52 species dominated by sparrows, songbirds and thrushes, Reuters reported. The bird species studied make their homes in colder regions of North America before migrating south for the winter. Of course, the birds that ended up in the study never made it back north.


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