Bird's Eye View of the Changing Climate

June 28, 2013

Steve Zack, WCS's Coordinator of Bird Conservation, describes the impacts of climate change on the annual spring journeys and breeding habits of migratory birds.

"The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever! The faint silvery warblings heard over the partially bare and moist fields from the bluebird, the song sparrow, and the red-wing, as if the last flakes of winter tinkled as they fell! What at such a time are histories, chronologies, traditions, and all written revelations?"—Henry David Thoreau, 1847

Thank you for that, Mr. Thoreau. Our yearly calendar of the natural world has always filled with the anticipation of the arrival of migratory birds in the spring. For most of us, the Spring Equinox signals a renewal and the promise of warmer weather. For bird watchers especially, knowing the when and where of spring migration is part of the seasonal rhythm.

I experienced this rhythm in the course of personal and business trips this spring.
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