Insight

Changes All Around Us

We've recently posted stories about birds and butterflies missing from their usual haunts and sometimes turning up in strange places. This could be due to global warming or to the pole shift now in progress, which will affect migratory animals. Weve also posted a story about leaves changing much earlier than usual, which predicts an especially cold winter ahead. Global warming doesnt necessarily make things warmerit makes some places colder. And most of all, it creates weather extremes, as people in the path of the recent barrage of Florida hurricanes have discovered. We asked for your input so we could find out if these changes in nature are happening where you live as well. Below are some of your replies:

Richard: Interesting to read that story concerning early leaf-turning in Wisconsin. The maple leaves on the trees in our front and back yard, north of Denver, began changing three or so weeks ago. It was actually in the middle of August that I noticed a yellowing of the leaves as they began their fall color change rather early.

Nancy: I live in Fremont, CA, located in the southeastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. My husband and I are very fond of walking in a regional park called Coyote Hills. The park sits at the edge of the bay and includes many areas of fresh water marsh and is on the Pacific flyway for migratory birds. This time of the year it is not unusual to see small groups of white pelican resting than moving south. This year has been a bit different. Last spring on a bay outlook we saw literally hundreds of them resting on the levees that ring the adjacent salt ponds. A reliable source reported in the local newspaper that he sighted a flamingo in a remote part of the marsh. No animal park or individual has reported a missing flamingo.

Mary: The leaves definitely are changing earlier in upstate New York. I've noticed it since mid-August. Not all trees, but many and a variety of types too. Actually as of this weekend, many leaves have now fallen or turned dried brown while still on the branches. Of course, some trees are still green. The birds and butterflies are missing tooall summer.

Marc: I found your piece on leaves turning color earlier this year to be rather disturbing. The sumacs here in Southeastern Vermont began turning at the BEGINNING of August, along with some large size maple trees. Locals have been saying "Its gonna be long and 'hahd'" in reference to the coming winter.

John: I live here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and have observed leaves changing color. I haven't seen any robins anywhere! I also observed squirrels burying their food early.

Andrea: I live in North Texas and this year we did not see the heavy influx of Monarch butterflies that usually migrate though my area each year.

Ron: Here in Dunlap, Tennessee, I too have noticed the leaves on the trees around my house are starting to turn red. That is way early for this area.

Julie: I live in rural Georgia and, yes, I've been noticing touches of early change for at least a week.

Keith: The weather has been very strange this summer in eastern Kansas. I noticed the leaves on some trees started changing in mid-August, a good month and a half early.

Earlene: Here in western North Carolina, the leaves started changing color about two weeks ago, the birds have been few and far between. Some days there will be about 8 birds, but more often, I never see any birds. And butterflies have not been around much at all.

Ron: I live in Ohio. I normally see maybe 1 or 2 horseflies a year (if any), but they are very plentiful this year. I am seeing them in clusters of 4 or more.

Melodi: Here in Ireland everyone is talking about the early leaf changes and the fall fruit ripening early. Apples are nearly ready for harvest. I gather things are early in the U.K. too.

Jeff: I live in southwestern Ontario and have noticed leaves already turning colors in the second week of August. Very odd. Can't remember that happening, ever.

David: Here at Brockville, Ontario, red maples in the wet areas are showing early color.

Kira: live on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. We usually have our last frost around the first week of May but this year I didn't even make a note of it because it came very early, I wasn't paying attention, but it was sometime in April.

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