It's hard to believe, but true: the demise of a tall, willowy plant called the glacier lily, that grows in mountain meadows throughout western North America, could mean the end of hummingbirds. It flowers early in spring, when the first bumblebees and hummingbirds appear--or it did, anyway. In Earth's warming temperatures, its first blooms appear around 17 days earlier than they did in the 1970s. By the time the hummingbirds fly in, many of the flowers have withered away, their nectar-laden blooms going with them.
Science Daily quotes biologist Amy McKinney as saying, "In some years the lilies have already bloomed by the time the first hummingbird lands." In a similar fashion, Monarch butterflies are dependent on a small area of woodland in Mexico--one that is in danger of being chopped down.
Environmentalist Saran Twombly is quoted as saying, "These conflicting pressures challenge society to ensure that species don't soon find themselves without a suitable place to live."
This coming December may not be the end of the world, but it will seem like it without butterflies and hummers!