Changing Seasons, Changing Climate
The bad news is, I'm too busy working with my clients to create new content for this blog. The good news is, I have copies of a bunch of posts I created for a community blog that were lost from that site through a technology glitch. Here's an example from September, 2019.
Have you noticed how quiet it’s gotten outside in the evening and morning? Twilight and dawn? The crepuscular serenade of local songbirds has all but ended as the season turns from summer to fall. That’s what made this bird’s song stand out.
Long after our robins, cardinals, and black-capped chickadees have stopped singing for the season, here was a bird with a piercing call. I first heard it in 2017 – I remember because it woke me up one morning – and I made a recording on my phone called “Mystery Bird.” It was a song I’d never heard before.
I recently grabbed a few more recordings of what I surmised was the same bird – again, because our “locals” have gone quiet with the end of their mating season. I was lucky to learn that Rich Guthrie, birder, blogger and retired NYS Department of Environmental Conservation biologist was going to be on WAMC Vox Pop that afternoon, talking birds.
I called in and played my recording for them, and his co-panelist, Kathryn Schneider of the New York State Ornithological Association, said, “Oh, I think that’s a tufted titmouse.”
I was crushed. I was so certain it was a Carolina Wren. You’d be surprised how much time I’ve spent on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website trying to identify bird songs. Even though I live in the middle of Albany, I take great pleasure in noticing changes in the natural world around me.
Those weekends in December when I find it hard to bake cookies because the sun is so low, it’s streaming right through my kitchen windows into my eyes. That first day in January when I can wear my sunglasses after 5 p.m. Sometime around Groundhog Day when I hear the black-capped chickadee (which my family calls the ‘wee-hoo bird’) in Washington Park. Looking for the winter aconite’s yellow blooms in my yard right around St. Patrick’s Day. Harbingers of the changing seasons for those paying attention.
Not one to take no for an answer, I found Rich’s email online and asked if I could send him my recordings for another listen. He responded, “And yes, I’ll agree with you - barely audible but comes through (better than on the radio) as Carolina Wren - the bird on the back of the South Carolina state quarter!”
Rich went on to say that Carolina Wrens are not especially rare in this area, though they used to be. “It’s one of those southern bird species that have come north in recent decades.”
As flora and fauna territories drift north with the changing climate, what other changes might we have to become accustomed to? And will we pay attention, or will those changes be lost in the background noise of our busy city lives?
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Carolina_Wren (listen to the recording of the male!)
Colleen M. Ryan is an