The songs of spring ... in January

For me, spring comes sometime in the middle of February. By then, the days are longer, the spring constellations rise in the early evening, and the sound of migrating song birds greet me in the morning.

But lately, I’ve heard such spring songs as I leave the house to begin my day. And it's only January.

This got me wondering. Why am I hearing these song birds so early? Am I just imagining all this? And so I went to a source that knows a thing or two about birds, The National Audubon Society. And I came across this report: Birds and Climate Change; Ecological Disruption in Motion.

Within it was a good amount of sobering information. Including this: 

Analysis of four decades of Christmas Bird Count observations reveal that birds seen in North America during the first weeks of winter have moved dramatically northward—toward colder latitudes—over the past four decades. Significant northward movement occurred among 58% of the observed species—177 of 305. More than 60 moved in excess of 100 miles north, while the average distance moved by all studied species—including those that did not reflect the trend—was 35 miles northward.

There was also movement inland, from warmer coastal states into areas not long accustomed to winter temperatures suitable for their new arrivals.

The analysis found these trends among nearly every type of species; their sheer numbers and variety pointing to a powerful common force contributing to the movements.

Now keep in mind, I am an eager fan of the coming of spring—especially tonight, when they’re reporting more snow coming my way. But when nature begins to alter how it goes about its business, I take pause. And, if such alternations are truly a sign of a changing planetary climate, then I doubt that such changes are the kind about which future generations will sing in praise.

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.