SHAPE-SHIFTING Birds responding to heat stress
African Birdlife|January/February 2022
Museum collections have always been an essential re-source for ornithological research.
ANDREW McKECHNIE

Going into the third decade of the 21st century, well-maintained and active collections are becoming even more vital for documenting the effects of rapid environmental change. For example, measurements of specimens in collections spanning decades, or even centuries, have revealed that rising temperatures are associated with progressively smaller body size in many birds. Analyses of museum collections are now suggesting another widespread effect of climate change: shifts in the sizes of birds’ beaks and legs.

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