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The Winter That Wasn’t Caused ‘Stunning’ Bird Migrations

By Brad Johnson  

"The Winter That Wasn’t Caused ‘Stunning’ Bird Migrations"

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Flock of Snow Geese

North America’s freakishly warm and dry winter caused millions of birds to change their migration patterns, citizen scientists found. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), thousands of bird watchers “recorded the most unusual winter for birds in the count’s 15-year history”:

“The maps on the GBBC website this year are absolutely stunning,” said John Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Every bird species has a captivating story to tell, and we’re certainly seeing many of them in larger numbers farther north than usual, no doubt because of this winter’s record-breaking mild conditions.”

Unprecedented findings included more than two million Snow Geese in Missouri and “high numbers of waterbirds such as Mallards, Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and American Coots, that either never left or came back early to lakes, rivers, and ponds that remained unfrozen.”

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