CHICAGO (WBBM) – A bird specialist at the Field Museum says there are signs of climate change in Grant Park.
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Dr. Douglas Stotz is a senior conservation ecologist at the Field Museum of Natural History. He says he’s still seeing in December, birds that used to leave by mid-November at the latest.
Those include Hermit Thrushes and an American Pippit, two species that would normally have been long gone by now.
He says this is due to warmer winters and a lack of early season snow cover which would be a problem for these two birds that forage on the ground.
Stotz also points out that robins, which used to be the harbingers of spring, are now essentially year-round birds.
But Stotz notes that winters still do get cold and so some of the birds that stay instead of leaving will not survive.
Stotz also says that filling a bird feeder is a commitment. He says if you start feeding in the early winter, then you’ll have to keep on filling up the feeder even when the snow gets deep and the thermometer drops, lest birds that grew accustomed find their easy food source is gone when they need it the most.