Six More Weeks Of Winter, Or Not?

Using animal behaviour as a bellwether of seasonal change has been around for a long time… much longer than ground hog prognosticators like Punxsutawney Phil or Wiarton Willie. A robin’s song or a budding flower was always great indicator of whether spring had sprung, and paying attention to those cues was vital for hunters, gatherers, and farmers.

Today, climate change is throwing Mother Nature’s biological clock out of whack, bringing earlier springs on average. At the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Colorado, scientists have collected data on the timing of natural events for decades. In recent years, migrating robins have arrived in the area while there’s still four feet of snow on the ground. The first glacier lilies are sometimes blooming before the bumblebee queens emerge from their wintry underground lairs to pollinate them. Hummingbirds have been arriving from Mexico too late to sip nectar from their preferred flowers.

Climate change doesn’t affect all of species in the same way, because they’re not all listening to the same cues… but if recent trends are any indication, there is cause for concern.

Image source: Posted by: Debbie Courson Smith

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