Nature’s voice.

A republication of a recent Post from Kate of Climate Sight.


My apologies for a second republication of another’s Post in two days, but a number of things today (Tuesday) have robbed me of the time I usually have for writing for Learning from Dogs.  So the Post from ClimateSight that I had planned to bring to you on Thursday has been brought forward.

To Kate’s Post on ClimateSight but first a little of Kate’s background,

Kate is a B.Sc. student and aspiring climatologist from the Canadian Prairies.

She became interested in climate science several years ago, and increasingly began to notice the discrepancies between scientific and public knowledge on climate change. She started writing this blog when she was sixteen years old, simply to keep herself sane, but she hopes she’ll be able to spread accurate information far and wide while she does so.

Kate is getting into climate modelling, and presented the results of her first research project at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting.

I subscribe to ClimateSight and, thus, on the 1st April, I received the following.  I republish it in full with Kate’s written permission.

March Migration Data

In my life outside of climate science, I am an avid fan of birdwatching, and am always eager to connect the two. Today I’m going to share some citizen science data I collected.

Last year, I started taking notes during the spring migration. Every time I saw a species for the first time that year, I made a note of the date. I planned to repeat this process year after year, mainly so I would know when to expect new arrivals at our bird feeders, but also in an attempt to track changes in migration. Of course, this process is imperfect (it simply provides an upper bound for when the species arrives, because it’s unlikely that I witness the very first arrival in the city) but it’s better than nothing.

Like much of the Prairies and American Midwest, we’ve just had our warmest March on record, a whopping 8 C above normal. Additionally, every single bird arrival I recorded in March was earlier than last year, sometimes by over 30 days.

I don’t think this is a coincidence. I haven’t been any more observant than last year – I’ve spent roughly the same amount of time outside in roughly the same places. It also seems unlikely for such a systemic change to be a product of chance, although I would need much more data to figure that out for sure. Also, some birds migrate based on hours of daylight rather than temperature. However, I find it very interesting that, so far, not a single species has been late.

Because I feel compelled to graph everything, I typed all this data into Excel and made a little scatterplot. The mean arrival date was 20.6 days earlier than last year, with a standard deviation of 8.9 days.

Back to me.

What is equally interesting as Kate’s Post above are some of the comments.  Like this one,


Doesn’t always work…

Here in central Illinois the robins depart in the fall and arrive in the spring; that’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it should be, right?

Not anymore. Some years recently we’ve seen robins nearly the entire winter, if we can still call it that.

Our Canadian Geese have forgotten how to migrate.

and these two from ‘Climatehawk1’.


Thanks, interesting info. I heard a mourning dove here (Vermont) Feb. 6, which is extraordinary. Some other items on birds:

Link to Boreal ducks said hurt by global warming

Link to Climate change plays major role in decline of blackbird species


And also, specifically relating to recent migration patterns:

Link to In an Unusual Winter–Where and Why Birds Traveled

Thank you Kate for that interesting article.

8 thoughts on “Nature’s voice.

  1. I am not one for discussing the why’s and wherefore’s of Climate change but I can do my citizen science bit as can all of us. Please do pop by my blog if you have the time.

    Kind Regards

    Tony Powell


      1. I just found your blog by general browsing excepting the fact I think I visited your site in the past. However, once again thanks for the reblogging my link.


        Tony Powell


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