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Christopher J. W. McClure, Brian W. Rolek, Kenneth McDonald and Geoffrey E. Hill Climate change and the decline of a once common bird Ecology and Evolution 2

Article first published online: 16 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.95

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Climate change is predicted to negatively impact wildlife through a variety of mechanisms including retraction of range. We found that the range of the Rusty Blackbird, a rapidly declining species, retracted northward by 143 km since the 1960s, that the probability of local extinction was highest at southern the range margin and that the mean breeding latitude of the Rusty Blackbird was significant and positively correlated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation with a lag of six years. Because the annual distribution of the Rusty Blackbird is affected by annual weather patterns produced by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, our results support the hypothesis that directional climate change over the past 40 years is contributing to the decline of the Rusty Blackbird.

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