personal observations from the natural world as the search continues for a new approach to conservation.
Baby birds galore
My regular readers will know that I painstakingly (too strong an emotive really) update my phenology calendar to reflect on the natural events taking place in the United Kingdom. So, now that the mixed spring has passed, what effect did it have on nature, more especially our familiar breeding garden birds?
When it comes to young birds, my garden attracts many different species and these are a few examples. Bear in mind, this list is not exhaustive and further additions may become apparent in time.
When I first witnessed a juvenile Dunnock and a juvenile Chaffinch on the 18th May, the weather was still grim with winds from the northeast as can be seen below.
As I said before, I would imagine the UK Phenology Network and other interested bodies would say it was a spring of two halves. To be fair, it has been very different to many of the recent springs, whereby over the last decade, many events had shifted to being well ahead of schedule. However, I would imagine this year would reflect a halt in some of those dramatic shifts, albeit temporarily I suspect. It is undeniable we are in a changed climate, when compared to the past (at least in my lifetime). The main concern for ecologists/scientists is how much trophic mismatching etc. the earth’s creatures can cope with and will we start to see even more adaptations taking place or at worse, mass extinction of others.
Hello Tony, thanks for the reply. You make a very important point there: will we see accelerated adaptation or accelerated extinction rates. Or both. I suspect we will see both, but where will the balance lie between adaptation and extinction?
Not forgetting that some birds start to breed, very early in the season. Nevertheless, of course, this is not always a good thing. I suspect you are referring to birds such as Blackbirds and Robins, which are three, or four times brooded, hence some are very much starting to look like adults by now.
It’s well out of your region, but you might be interested in the citizen science program the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium here in Vermont has set-up. They’ve been collecting phenology data for about a hundred years and have recently expanded the data collection process to the community at large.
All the date is available to the public and covers a select group of birds, plants, butterflies, and weather phenomenon. The link is below.