I do quite a lot of design for natural landscaping including many plans that are aimed at bringing in birds to urban lots or feeding exiting populations through a more diverse plant selection. I never knew how much my Univeristy of Minnesota Natural Resources degree was going to compliment my studies in Landscape Design until recently. Now I’d say that half of my designs have some aspect of involving wildlife cohabitation with us humans. It is in this education combination that many ecological questions arise. One hit me today.
Sitting in my office I noticed how many of the trees had put on a new flush of green. I do love the fact that we are early from a warmth standpoint, but by the same token it made me think that when the migrating birds start to come through in a month there will be a lack of easily captured bugs for our feathered friends. The warbler species in particular rely on picking off caterpillars, flies, and larvae that feed on new buds. In a month when they come through there will be none of this. In fact a month from now the trees will be more than likely in full leaf-out. Full leaf-out makes it harder to find food. With food lacking they have to search more, therefore wasting energy. I’d guess that the weaker individuals will not even make it up North into their breeding grounds if this scenario plays out.
Another way this could devastating to populations is if they come up early. I don’t think will happen because they follow the sun angle (daylight) not the temps, but if they do get fooled they might get hit with a late season cold streak which might kill the bugs as well as a on a personal level as they might get too cold and not have enought energy or food to survive a cold night.
Then again….its nature and I am not going to worry.