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.