Sandhill cranes as seasonal forecasters – is this just bullshit?

Tom Stienstra at SFGate recently wrote that California can expect an  early, wet winter. How do we know this? There’s a saying, “Birds never lie.” If so, the best weather forecaster in the West, the migratory sandhill crane, is predicting an early winter with plenty of rain and snow. Over the years, the timing of …

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Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: the big dry, newspaper edition

From the Sunday paper (sub/ad req.*), my attempt to make sense of the issues I was fumbling around about yesterday: The factors that set up trouble in the Southwest’s forests are complex – a warming climate and forest management practices over the 20th century that allowed a terrifying buildup of fuel. There was simply too …

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Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: Lessons from a Drought

From the morning paper, a wander in the bosque to look for signs of drought (sub/ad req.): There is a resilience, it turns out, to these desert ecosystems. They’re used to this happening every so often, and they know what to do in response. Some leaf out less, or leaf out later. Some depend on …

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Wednesday Bird Blogging (Bike Blogging?)

I almost crashed the bike this morning, distracted as I zoomed on the bike trail beneath Interstate 25 near the north end of Albuquerque. The bridge abutments are prime swallow turf, and I was looking to see if any have returned from their southern sojourn. I almost took a header into the trailside railing, and …

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More Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: Back on the Bird Beat

Birds Flee Changing Habitats (ad/sub req.): Birds and butterflies offer the earliest signs that ecosystems are changing in response to a changing climate, according to Craig Allen, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “They’re mobile,” said Allen, an expert on the effect of climate change on New Mexico’s environment. Climate has always changed, Allen …

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