Some animals can adapt to climate change—just not fast enough
A small number of birds have adjusted breeding times to match earlier springs, but it's not clear whether they can breed early enough to assure survival.
When Anne Charmantier set out to check her great tits—a songbird native to Europe—on June 28, she expected to find healthy, spry chicks.
As she slowly opened the doors to the wooden nest boxes—a trick to study these birds—the quiet at the nest disturbed her. Peering in, she encountered a grim scene: All chicks lay dead in their nests. An evolutionary ecologist at the Center of National Scientific Research in France, Charmantier has studied great tits for 15 years—long enough to know that this was not normal.
The culprit was a heat wave that had swept through Europe in late June. In Montpelier, where she checked the nest boxes, temperatures exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit, a record by more than