Saturday, December 14, 2013

Final Flight: 10 Northeastern Birding Spots at Risk from Climate Change by Trevor Lloyd-Evans and David McGlinchey

Why I read it: I know the authors, one better than the other, and I'm a huge fan of Trevor's work.

Summary: Short profiles (the book is only 26 pages long) of ten places birders in the region know, how climate change is affecting them, and how those effects will affect wildlife.

My Thoughts: I've been in the birding game for a decade, and on more than a life list pursuit level. I've been involved in the citizen science end of things. I've seen the climate change data. I helped write the new Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2 with amazing colleagues.

I've come to learn it's all a dynamic process. I've examined thirty year comparisons of ten square mile blocks in Massachusetts and seen the turnover, how little changes in habitat can cause huge fluctuations in avian life in an area. And now I'm watching as southern bird species are invading my northeastern home like never before.

In a way, I find this booklet interesting because it shows how marginalized habitats - barrier beaches, pine barrens, tundra-like mountaintops - are going to be the areas most affected, or perhaps the first affected. If global climate change continues at the rate it is now, the barrier beaches will be underwater, the pine barrens will be invaded by unwanted insects (they already are), and the warming of the mountaintops will force creatures that live there now to seek similar habitat farther north - and when that runs out, so do they.

Kudos to Trevor and David for providing us with this quick reference to some of the known affects of climate change on our bird life. It's almost made me feel like I have to get to some of these places soon, to cherish them just a little bit more. The changes won't be complete within my lifetime, but they certainly will be well underway.

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