A report from the National Audubon Society suggests climate change is affecting North American birds.
Monday, January 28, 2019 5:58am
MUKILTEO — On a brisk Tuesday morning earlier this month, Rick Taylor stood sentry on the sidewalk at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park. Armed with binoculars, he panned over Puget Sound, searching for birds. It didn’t matter what kind, he said, just “ones with feathers.”
Taylor is a member of the Pilchuck Audubon Society and his hobby has taken him to tropical locales across the globe. Snohomish County, though, is where he gets most of his bird watching done. He’s been to all of the local haunts countless times — so many times that his wife has grown bored, opting to stay home more often than not. But Taylor said the repetition is worth it.
He compares it to “Pokemon Go.”
“You never know what’s going to turn up,” he said.
With climate change, that statement may ring more true than ever. Birds that have shied away from the Pacific Northwest’s gloomier seasons are now making once unthinkable journeys from far-flung places. However, other birds are leaving, preferring habitats farther north.
“For anyone listening to the birds, paying attention to the birds, climate change is pretty here and now,” Taylor said.
The annual Christmas Bird Count, organized by the National Audubon Society, offers a window into what these changes look like. Dating back 120 years, the national volunteer-run count is one of the oldest citizen science projects in the country.