Baby birds are leaping from nests before they can fly due to deadly heatwaves

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Scorching heatwaves across the US West are causing baby birds to flee their nests before they can fly to escape the extreme temperatures.

The US Pacific Northwest experienced a record-setting heat wave earlier this summer, reaching temperatures of 116F at its peak.

Nearly 200 people died in the extreme heatwave which also had a devastating impact on local wildlife.

Some 1billion marine animals cooked to death during the recent heatwave.

Baby birds are jumping out of their nests because of the heat. The infants, which are unable to fly, are being found by people passing by and taken to rehabilitation centers.

Wildlife rehabilitation centers in Oregon and Northern California are caring for hundreds of injured birds.

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One site in Portland took in more than 100 Cooper’s Hawks over the span of four days in June, compared to around a dozen it cares for each year.

Bob Sallinger, director of conservation at Portland Audubon Society, said that extreme events like heatwaves, which are being driven by the climate crisis, could have yet unknown consequences for bird populations.

“What’s scary to me, as somebody that’s been working on bird conservation for decades, is that, you know, these incredibly abnormal events are starting to become common. They’re occurring at a rapid pace. And no one fully understands the implications,” Mr Sallinger told The Washington Post.

The blazing hot temperatures are already causing mass bird die-offs.

An employee at the Blue Mountain Wildlife rehabilitation facility in Pendleton, Oregon, said that an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of birds couldn’t be saved. Others had broken legs.

Even if an overheated bird survives, however, its offspring can be impacted by the consequences of the extreme weather.

A 2018 study, published in the journal British Ecology Society, found that overheated Eurasian blue tits had smaller offspring and they had lower odds of survival.

Rising temperatures have also reduced bird populations in the desert. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that with rising temperatures over the past century, sites in the Mojave desert lost on average 43 per cent of breeding birds.

Last week, the United Nations released a sweeping report that found the climate crisis will make heatwaves more frequent and more intense.

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