Scientists have been able to prove how mountain-dwelling birds are pushed to ever higher elevations by a changing climate, what scientists call “an elevator to extinction.”

A meticulous re-creation of a three decade-old study of birds on a mountainside in Peru gave biologists a rare chance to study how the birds’ habitats changed between 1985 and 2017.

This 2017 photo provided by Graham Montgomery shows a deep-blue flowerpiercer in the Cerro de Pantiacolla mountain in Peru. The high-elevation species found on the eastern slope of the Andes lives only near the top of the mountain (above 1300 meters). A new study on mountaintop extinctions published Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that continued warming “will likely lead to the local extinction of this species
This 2017 photo provided by Graham Montgomery shows a deep-blue flowerpiercer in the Cerro de Pantiacolla mountain in Peru. The high-elevation species found on the eastern slope of the Andes lives only near the top of the mountain (above 1300 meters). A new study on mountaintop extinctions published Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that continued warming “will likely lead to the local extinction of this species” within a decade or so. (Graham Montgomery via AP)

In that time, the average temperature on the mountain climbed three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit, pushing most species to move to higher elevations.

This 2017 photo provided by Graham Montgomery shows a scarlet-breasted fruiteater in the Cerro de Pantiacolla mountain in Peru. The high-elevation species found on the eastern slope of the Andes lives only near the top of the mountain (above 1300 meters). “Another decade or so of warming will likely lead to the local extinction of this species on the Cerro de Pantiacolla,” said biologist Benjamin Freeman, lead author of a new study on mountaintop extinctions published Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Graham Montgomery via AP)
This 2017 photo provided by Graham Montgomery shows a scarlet-breasted fruiteater in the Cerro de Pantiacolla mountain in Peru. The high-elevation species found on the eastern slope of the Andes lives only near the top of the mountain (above 1300 meters). “Another decade or so of warming will likely lead to the local extinction of this species on the Cerro de Pantiacolla,” said biologist Benjamin Freeman, lead author of a new study on mountaintop extinctions published Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Graham Montgomery via AP)

Surveys of more than 400 species of birds found that populations of almost all had declined, and as many as 8 had disappeared completely.

The results, reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirm what biologists had long suspected.

Source: The Associated Press

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