If it’s not one manmade thing, it’s another.
The Lower Hudson Valley Journal-News reports,
… Overall bird totals seen in the region from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 were down significantly from other years, but experts say the recent warm weather likely had as much to do with that as any other single factor. Alan Wells, of Rockland’s Audubon chapter, said that normally the frozen lakes and streams would concentrate birds in the open waters of the Hudson River valley, where they are more easily counted…
“[The annual Audubon bird count is] a snapshot of the ecosystem” Yarnold said. “In science, it’s important to understand the trends over time, and this helps see nature’s patterns clearly.”
For instance, the migratory patterns of birds indicate what’s going on for the creatures that gave us the term “canary in the mine shaft” and still point where nature’s going before other species feel the effects.
The lone bald eagle spotted in the trees of Glynwood Farm in Putnam County, however, didn’t create near the excitement among some veteran bird watchers that a little gray and white bird did.
“It’s very uncommon,” Peekskill resident Chris Drury said of a sparrow-sized Northern Shrike sitting in a far-off tree. “It’s within its winter range, but it’s still unusual to see one.”
Not so long ago, it was the eagles that drew the oohs and aahs, partially because of their legendary status and size, but also because they weren’t seen that often in the Hudson Valley for many years.
Hummingbirds, for instance, found conditions warm enough that they didn’t need to seek warmer temperatures. It’s the same for other species as well, such as the shrike.
“We’re seeing Carolina wrens in the Hudson Valley,” Yarnold said. “That’s not an accident. It’s an effect of climate change.”