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Climate change confuses migrating birds

Great Britain
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Swallows fly huge distances to spend the winter soaking up the sun in Africa, returning to Britain in spring to nest and breed

Climate change confuses migrating birds - In what experts say is the first documented evidence of the species "overwintering" here, a solitary swallow has been monitored from November to the end of February in a village near Truro, Cornwall. A spokesman for the British Trust for Ornithology called the discovery "INCREDIBLE." The swallows' return to British shores each year symbolises the passing of winter and the approach of summer. Swallows fly huge distances to spend the winter soaking up the sun in Africa, returning to Britain in spring to nest and breed. But in a sign of the blurring of the seasons brought on by climate change, one of the birds has this year shunned migration to Africa and instead spent all winter in Britain. Members of two other species of migrating bird, the wheatear and the chiffchaff, were also found to have stayed in Britain all winter. "It's likely that the milder winters will see more and more birds doing this. Ten years ago, you would not have dreamt that a swallow could survive the winter in this country." As further evidence of climate change, volunteers have also recorded "early returns" by many migrants this year, as well as unseasonably early nesting by birds that ordinarily remain here. These include reports of a blackbird laying on January 5, a robin on January 19, and a collared dove the following day - several weeks before they are usually expected to do so. In each case, the chicks fledged successfully.

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