Changes in climate may lead to birds going hungry
Earlier springs driven by climate change are creating a "mismatch" between when caterpillars hatch and baby birds are feeding, scientists warned yesterday.
Data collected from "citizen scientists" across the UK has helped researchers compare the emergence of oak tree leaves and caterpillars and the timing of nesting by blue tits, great tits and pied flycatchers.
With spring coming earlier due to rising temperatures, leaves and caterpillars emerge earlier in the year, and forest birds which feed on them have to breed sooner to avoid missing out on food sources for their hungry chicks.
Dr Malcolm Burgess, of the University of Exeter and RSPB, said: "Forests have a short peak in caterpillar abundance, and some forest birds time their breeding so this coincides with the time when their chicks are hungriest.
"We found that the earlier the spring, the less able birds are to do this."