Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Thursday, January 8, 2015
The canary just might be taking over the coal mine
Our wildlife, particularly birds, appears to be taking a big
hit, while we take our time talking about whether global warming is real or
not. Natural food supplies, breeding schedules, vegetative cover, prevailing
winds, temperatures et. al.are all
messed up.For example, in recent years,
American Goldfinches started arriving in north Texas at the beginning of
November. Last year it was about mid-November. This year, about early December.
This sortr of thing may seem like a small matter, but there are hundreds of such examples. A few other proven, researched examples:
Arizona, the breeding season of the Mexican Jay has been pushed up 10 days
between 1971 and 1998. This correlates with spring temperatures, which have
risen 4.5° F in the same period.
in Colorado have migrated to higher elevations, where they breed two weeks
earlier than in the late ‘70s. Many birds now arrive before the snow melts and
uncovers their food. So they starve.
population of Edith’s Checkerspot butterfly, normally throughout the west
coast, is drastically shrinking. In the southern part of its range, 80% of them
are gone due to climate change.
Alaska’s Cooper Islands, populations of Black Guillemot’s are declining as the
sea ice melts and recedes, affecting the birds’ primary food source, cod, which
live under the ice.
Blackbirds now arrive at their spring breeding grounds in Michigan 21 days
earlier than they did in 1960.
Warblers have been arriving at their breeding grounds in Virginia one day
earlier each year, for the last two decades, as spring temperatures have risen.
OWEN YOST, in addition to being a
blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in
north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement
Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American
Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape
Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is
at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.