Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 43(3/4): 133-134. December 2011


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society, 2011. Used by permission.


Book review of Effects of Climate Change on Birds, edited by Anders Pape Meller, Wolfgang Fiedler, and Peter Berthold.

Climate scientists from across the globe predict vast changes during the next century in the planet's temperatures, precipitation, storm intensities, fire regimes, hydrologic cycles, and atmospheric, water, and soil chemistries. The changes will be global, but their effects will be felt locally everywhere. To find a scientifically and socially engaging bellwether of these events, we need to look only through the lens of avian biology. Birds are found from pole to pole; their movements connect continents. They are loud, colorful symbols of the changing of the seasons, and the body of work describing how changes to our climate are altering their evolution and ecology is growing nearly as quickly as the changes are occurring.

Anders Meller, Wolfgang Fiedler, and Peter Berthold have put together a compilation of review papers on climate change as seen through that ornithological lens. In a text written for ecological professionals and graduate student study, the authors show the breadth of ways that birds illustrate the implications of climate change for wildlife, layout numerous needs to improve our predictive abilities, and provide some brief descriptions of the quantitative tools that might be used to answer those needs.