Listen up conservative climate change deniers: climate change threatens the heterosexual, monogamous marriage! Bird marriage, that is.
Scientific American reports that birds are suffering from climate related stress that may lead them to stray from their breeding partners.
It was once believed that 90 percent of birds were monogamous choosing just one partner per season. Scientists now agree that most birds actually stray from their partners to increase the chances of a successful hatch. Despite this natural tendency, it appears that extreme changes in temperature are intensifying bird promiscuity.
Along with Dustin Rubenstein of Columbia University, evolutionary ecologist Carlos Botero collected date from 200 bird species and compared mating habits with temperate and precipitation records in nesting areas. In less stable climates, the DNA in eggs indicated that females were breeding with different males more often.
Climate change can limit access to food which increases chick mortality rates and means that adult males lack nutrition necessary to support a nest. Subsequently, females will begin to search for more reliable partners. Poor nutrition also adversely affects a male’s plumage, which is a key feature for attracting females.
It appears that climate change not only erodes the planet, but the moral fabric of our natural world.