Blue tits are a garden favourite. They feed juicy caterpillars to their chicks, and over time, have even evolved so that their breeding cycle coincides with the peak availability of these caterpillars. But this evolution has been a lot slower than the rate of climate change. Blue tits in urban areas often struggle to find food for their chicks. As the climate warms, trees are coming into leaf earlier. This means caterpillars are hatching earlier too. If blue tits get their timing wrong, it means there are fewer caterpillars to go around. Less food then means that fewer chicks are likely to survive.
Climate change affects our favourite species
Mild winters are now the norm and spring seems to arrive earlier every year. Climate change won’t just bring new birds to our shores as the climate warms up, it could make some familiar birds disappear altogether.
Blue tits: they're missing out on caterpillars
Puffins: how Earth is in delicate balance
Clown-like puffins are incredibly popular, the most familiar of any seabird colony. Puffin chicks (they’re known as pufflings) are raised on fish such as sandeels. Sandeels feat on marine plankton in the cold waters around the coastline of the UK. But as sea temperatures rise due to climate change, plankton communities are also changing. Sandeels are then becoming a much less reliable food source. The upset of this delicate balance means that former puffin strongholds are seeing more chicks at risk of starving.
How climate change affects wildlife
Lost in the waves
Little terns nest on beaches, so they're vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change.
More than a quarter of the UK’s butterflies are spreading north as temperatures rise, losing habitats as a result.
Wading birds probe damp mud in search of food. But in drier weather, the mud will dry out, making feeding impossible.
Coming to a garden near you
Climate change won’t just bring new birds to our gardens, it could make some birds disappear altogether.
Flooding devastation on wildlife
Increased flooding and rain from climate change can spell disaster. Find out how our nature reserves are feeling the effects.
Can nature help threatened species and the climate?
The answer is yes! It’s easy to think that only wildlife will benefit from protecting and restoring natural habitats. But the great news is that it can actually help us tackle climate change too. It’s win-win!
However, as well as being affected by the climate emergency, nature is one of our best solutions to mitigate its effects. By restoring important wildlife habitats such as peatlands and woodlands, we can capture harmful carbon from the atmosphere. These habitats also provide a home and food sources for our incredible wildlife.
Do more for nature
The nature and climate emergency affects the wildlife we love but together, we can make change happen.
Find out how taking a #MyClimateAction for nature and the climate, no matter how large or small, can make a difference.