Science In Wonderland

Here’s what the numbers say about Charlotte’s birds: They’re moving north as temperatures warm. Eighteen of the 20 most common backyard species spotted last Dec. 27 have shifted their winter ranges northward over the past 40 years, national data show. The average distance was 116 miles.

According to NCDC, temperatures last December in North Carolina were the second coldest on record. North Carolina was 18 degrees cooler than December, 1956.

Polls show Americans are increasingly dubious about global warming, even as most climate scientists say they’re ever more sure that it’s real. Oblivious to science and politics, Carolina wrens and cedar waxwings seem to signal climate change with their wings.

The drop in temperatures over the last decade has convinced them.

The evidence is firmest in North Carolina on the coast, where a state science panel expects a 1-meter increase in sea level by 2100 and beach towns are scrambling to save eroding strands.

Sea level hasn’t risen in Wilmington, NC for 40 years.

Charlotte’s birds are among the hints of statewide shifts as temperatures inch higher. The tendency is northward and upward: stonefly nymphs moving higher up mountain streams; coastal frogs croaking in Piedmont backyards; tropical fish cruising the temperate coast.

Sea surface temperatures are below normal along 80% of the US shoreline.

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7 Responses to Science In Wonderland

  1. nofreewind says:
    According to NCDC NC summer temps have been flat the past 20 years, those did rise since the cold spell last mid-century, but when you take it all the way back to 1930 you find no change whatsoever in summer NC temperatures.

    I’ve been an avid birder for almost 20 yrs here in Penna. Springtime temps and the arrival of our summer birds and migrant is exactly on schedule. They have just been coming in the past few days, just as always, as the trees leaf out.

    Sadly, I have dropped out of Audubon and all enviro/conservation organization, their magazines are full of distortions, lies, and exaggerations – and most of the people, who I have used to enjoy being with, have finally found their “religion”.

  2. Andy Weiss says:

    Maybe the birds have been indoctrinated. If there has been no temperature change and they have headed north, what other explanation can there be?

    The other explanation is that the birds haven’t moved north at all and that this conclusion is an alarmist fabrication. That would appear to be a far more rational explanation.

  3. Lance says:

    or, possibly, they have way more bird watchers out and about, and so they pick up those strays farther afield…..NAH, GW…. 🙂

    but hey, the ice and snow is gone from my yard, but cold wet rain has now moved in…

    by the way
    Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mom’s out there.

    • Al Gored says:

      Lance. Dead on about the number of observers being a factor. That is the underlying ’cause’ of a lot of this stuff.

      There are other reasons, including the increased numbers of certain birds… which therefore means range expansions as they look for new breeding territories.

      There also have been major northward expansions of some species… but they started long ago and cannot be linked to any convenient temperature graph.

      More recently some have expanded north because of bird feeders, which allow them to winter further north.

      What truly reveals how bogus this particular story is are the examples they use. Any species that could be sensitive to minor climatic/habitat changes would have a narrow niche. Thus minor habitat changes would effect them. The Cedar Waxwing and Carolina Wren do NOT fit that category at all as any look at a range map will tell you.

      Bottom line, as any old birder (like me) knows, bird populations and ranges fluctuate over time for a variety of reasons.

  4. Latitude says:

    birds fly really fast…
    …faster than climate change

    Ever notice that as soon as someone goes out to study some wildlife, they count them…

    ..and the numbers are always less than they thought

  5. Dave N says:

    What do they show as proof that the habitat shift has actually occurred, and more importantly, how they know exactly why? ie what proof is there that it is due to temps? Did they poll the birds?

    • Al Gored says:

      “Eighteen of the 20 most common backyard species spotted last Dec. 27 have shifted their winter ranges northward over the past 40 years, national data show.”

      This particular increase in winter ‘backyard species’ is most probably related to the increasing number of bird feeders and the increasing number of ‘backyard birders,’ not to mention the increased participation in Christmas Bird Counts that undoubtedly produced these stats.

      So, does Globull Warming make people feed birds and count them?

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