2023 120 ENV

The Impacts of Climate Change on Hummingbird Foraging Behavior

By: Samantha Walls

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Derrick Groom

Due to climate change, flowering patterns are not matching hummingbird migratory patterns, leading to decreased energy consumption for the bird and decreased pollination opportunities for flowers. Changes in environmental temperature are also changing thermoregulatory demands for hummingbirds. My research project concerns foraging patterns in hummingbirds and how energetics and thermoregulation relate to their food choices. It will examine foraging habits to see how energetically costly climate change is for hummingbirds. My question is ‘Do Annas hummingbirds exhibit time minimizer or energy maximizer foraging behaviors given different thermoregulatory conditions?’. My study will monitor behavior and food preference given different thermoregulatory conditions and costs associated with feeding energetics. I predict hummingbirds will exhibit time minimizer behavior because the increased thermoregulatory demands are energetically costly for hummingbirds. This study is important because it exemplifies the damage climate change can have on the survivability of species.