Page last updated at 23:26 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 00:26 UK

Ancient tree helps birds survive

Turkey Oak
The Turkey oak was reintroduced to Britain three centuries ago

An ancient species of tree is helping Britain's birds survive the effects of climate change, scientists have found.

Frequent early spring weather means blue tits and great tits have been laying eggs ahead of schedule, making it difficult for them to find food.

However ecologists say birds have been feeding on gall wasps, which make their homes in Turkey oak trees, rather than the usual young caterpillars.

The discovery was made during a study by the University of Edinburgh.

'Modern problem'

It had been feared that the Turkey oak, reintroduced to Britain three centuries ago after an absence of thousands of years, may pose a threat to native plants and animals.

The species was native to northern Europe before the previous ice age, about 120,000 years ago.

But now it appears to be providing the country's birds with a food source.

Dr Graham Stone of the university said: "The reintroduction of Turkey oak and the re-invasion of gall wasps into northern Europe may simply represent restoration of a previous natural situation.

"As the Turkey oak re-asserts itself in its ancient home, it is helping to alleviate some of the effects of the very modern problem of climate change."




SEE ALSO
Climate 'altering UK bird habits'
15 Aug 08 |  Science/Nature
Birds released in secret location
14 Aug 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Decline at biggest UK puffin site
04 Jun 08 |  Science/Nature
Great tits cope well with warming
08 May 08 |  Science/Nature
In pictures: State of the UK's birds
17 Aug 07 |  In Pictures

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific