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Study: Climate Change Possible Cause Of Bird Species Decline

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Scientists studying the collapse of bird populations in the desert along the Nevada-California border say climate change could be to blame.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley says the number of bird species has fallen by an average of 43 percent over the past century at survey sites across an area larger than New York state.

The study shows almost a third of species are less common and widespread now than they once were throughout the region.

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The study's authors, Steven Beissinger and Kelly Iknayan, point to less hospitable conditions in the Mojave as the probable cause.

Iknayan, who conducted the research for her doctoral thesis at UC Berkeley, says California deserts have experienced "quite a bit of drying and warming because of climate change."