I can’t speak for other parts of the world, but here in Ontario, God’s creatures seem to be pretty confused by the wacky weather we’ve had this winter.
First of all some of the birds that normally fly south for the winter, never left this year. Canada geese are just one example. Usually, a few will stick around, but this year there are many. Naturalists and bird watchers have also seen vultures, bald eagles, ducks, yellow-rumped warblers and great blue herons – an unusual thing for this time of year.
Southwestern Ontario naturalist, Alan Wormington says bird behavior has been affected since the warmer start to the winter allowed them to find water and food. (Lakes and ponds are still not frozen over.)
As well, there are plenty of squirrels and even chipmunks around. In my back yard, I see lots of squirrels at play, climbing trees, etc. Even some small animals that normally snuggle up in their burrows for winter are out and about.
And believe it or not, I had a flying insect in my kitchen yesterday. Apparently, that is not uncommon this year either, but it sure made me think!
University of Guelph veterinarian and epidemiologist, Dave Waltner-Toews says all sorts of new things are happening because of the climate change here and as yet, no one has been able to really study what’s happening. Most of all, he is concerned about the spread of diseases that normally would not be around at this time of year.
He said West Nile has already become a “winter” problem in Ontario and he fears Lyme disease could spread. With more animals out and about, there is a greater chance of disease. He also expressed concern that the northern movement of rabies-infected raccoons from the U.S could undermine Ontario’s wildlife vaccination program.
"It's all unknown waters,” he said.
There are also some species that already started mating before the first real snow fell and the temperatures dipped below zero last week. Unfortunately, the new babies will likely not survive.
It appears that many things are changing in nature around us. It also seems clear that Mother Nature is taking quite a kicking due to the major climate changes that have been occurring.
I help but wonder whether God’s smallest creatures will suffer or if they will eventually adapt to these changes. Perhaps, some of them that are used to colder climates will move further north and maybe some creatures that like milder temperatures will move up into Ontario from the south.