Now global warming blamed for eagle decline

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.”

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4 responses to “Now global warming blamed for eagle decline

  1. Warmer winter so far this year, so birds are doing non-normal things. Not as many geese and ducks in Virginia this year and I saw a lot of geese in Michigan over Christmas because of no snow and no frozen lakes. Either the birds stay where the food is good with less energy expenditure or short term weather = climate. Think I’ll subscribe to the lazy bird idea.

  2. If I read this correctly, ‘global warming’ is actually threatening the Audobon Society’s ability to COUNT birds, but does not seem to be a physical threat to the hummingbirds or to the shrike.

  3. I have lived in central Iowa for over 30 years. Bald eagles are far more prevelant than they used to be. Once upon a time it was rare to see one… now we see them regularly. Of course when the weather is unusual (we are having a very warm January so far with most ponds and rivers still ice free) birds will change their normal patterns. We have geese everywhere whereas they would normally have been further south as the bodies of water here froze. This is just one ancecdotal report that means NOTHING with regards to how bald eagles are faring as a species.

  4. That and alot of them fly into wind mills put up by greenies. Greenies should be ticketed for killing an endangered species.

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