Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Three of The Current
The Winter that Wasn't: Bird Migration - Environment Canada Climatologist
Okay. There is a blizzard creating havoc on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula this morning. But you may have noticed the neighbourhood kids practicing slap shots on the slush-rink and taking vicious body checks in the six inches of water that was a frozen pond last winter. A new study published this week by researchers at McGill and Concordia Universities suggests that outdoor hockey may soon become a casualty of Canada's warmer winters.
And if that confuses your sense of Canadian identity -- have a thought for the confused Canadian wildlife. At the Humber Arboretum in northwest Toronto, for example, it's as if winter never came at all. The Current's Alisha Parchment spoke with Nature interpreter, Fiona Street.
David Phillips has pretty much seen it all, weather-wise, in his role as senior climatologist at Environment Canada. But we're about to find out whether he's seen a winter like this before. David Phillips joined us in our Toronto studio.
The Winter that Wasn't: Bird Migration - Biology Professor
The songs of the robin, house wren and barn swallow aren't normally heard until much later in the year. But those sounds are already filling the March air in some areas of Canada. The robins started arriving shortly after Groundhog Day and in some cases didn't even bother flying south this winter.
Mike Burrell is an avid birder in Bancroft, Ontario, near Peterborough. He's the Ontario regional editor for eBird ... a citizen science website which collects bird checklists. Participants can go out to their local park, log in, record the date, location, and number of each species they see, and submit the report.
Mike Burrell has been keeping track of winter bird sightings in Ontario for eBird for the past six years. We aired a clip with what he says he's noticed over the past few months.
In fact, a new study from the University of North Carolina has collected data from tens of thousands of birders in the eBird network and used that to put together a broader picture of how bird migration may be affected by climate change and warmer winters.
Allen Hurlbert is an assistant professor of biology at University of North Carolina, and he joined us from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The Winter that Wasn't: Bird Migration - Canadian Bird Counts
Dick Cannings is a biologist who organizes many of the Canadian bird counts, including eBird and the Christmas count.
He lives in Penticton, British Columbia, which is where we reached him.
So for the short term anyway, the warm weather may be a good for bird watchers. There are lots of people who enjoy the past-time -- but a movie about bird watching was one of the least watched comedies of last year. The Big Year documents a competition between bird watchers over who can spot the most species in a single year. Owen Wilson's character tries to explain to some barflies what drives him on. We aired a clip.
This segment was produced The Current's Chris Wodskou, Ellen Saenger, Alisha Parchment and St. John's Producer, Heather Barrett.
Last Word - Oyama Koichi
Earlier in the show we heard from Oyama Koichi, he's a city councillor from a community near Fukushima. He's been critical of Tokyo's handling of the disaster. He's featured in a new documentary called Surviving Japan by film maker Christopher Noland.
Today we gave Oyama Koichi the Last Word.
Other segments from today's show: