Wildlife

Cicada Silence

This summer’s extreme European heat that has melted glaciers, caused rivers to dry up and destroyed crops has also silenced the singing cicadas of southern France. “We have observed that the cicadas don’t sing almost ever in the afternoon when the temperature exceeds 36 degrees Celsius in the shade. It’s too hot for them,” said agro-climate specialist Serge Zaka.

The cigale, or cicada, has been mentioned in literature for centuries and represented death and rebirth to the ancient Greeks. But Zaka warned that if Europe continues to get hotter in summer, the Provençal cicadas will be forced to migrate northward or toward the higher elevations of the Pyrenees and southern Alps.

Duller Birds

A European study finds that at least one species of bird is becoming less colourful under the influence of global heating.

Basque and French researchers recorded the colors of Europe’s blue tits between 2005 and 2019 at sites near Montpellier and in Corsica and found that year after year, both sexes of the birds lost some of their distinctive blue and yellow colourations. “The change in plumage colour seems to be the result of a combination of a rise in temperature (1.23 C) and a fall in rainfall (0.64 mm), said lead researcher David López-Idiáquez of the University of the Basque Country.

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