Eastern North American songbirds are a pretty adaptable bunch, says a scientist who discovered some remarkable changes in their wings over the last 100 years.
A close look at museum collections of 851 songbird specimens belonging to 21 species shows that most of the birds evolved pointier wings after their forests were fragmented by clear-cutting. Others in re-foresting areas evolved less-pointy wings. The reason for the wing changes: nothing less than the drive to procreate.
Pointier wings can help birds who are long-distance commuters fly more efficiently. More rounded wings, however, are better over short distances.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Rapid environmental change can have noticeable effects on species
American songbirds evolve with forests