Global Warming and the Spread of Species

Photographed during evening showing a flight of grackles, starlings, and others to a communal roost. Here's an interesting observation from my mother. She was born and raised in Austin 92 years ago. She told me when she was a child, there were no grackles in Austin. She said there were in San Antonio and you would see them there when you visited like Franklin Roosevelt did when Mayor Maury Maverick and President Roosevelt opened the River Walk (a CCC New Deal program) in the 1930s.

Now when my wife and I moved to Johnson City from near Henly in 1980 (both of us originally Austinites), there were no grackles here. They did not arrive until the mid 1980s about the time invasive Argentine fire ants arrived. Now, of course, both species are part of the landscape. What's obviously missing now is the annual plagues of crickets we experienced around central Texas before the arrival of fire ants where most down towns and homes were invaded by hordes of crickets rubbing their legs and producing their incessant mating songs. Are the three events related? What do you think? Is it even true that grackles weren't living in and around Austin in the 1930s? What do your parents and grand parents remember?

Add to that this idea: non endemic species are spreading into your area wherever you live. Not only did grackles not inhabit Johnson City when we moved here, but neither did White-winged doves. As a kid, I remember seeing photographs of White-winged doves in Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine describing its range as being along the Rio Grande and I remember hunters paying exorbitant sums to be able to hunt this dove species.* How I wished then to have been able to see this unique Texas species. Today, these birds nest in our yard, wait for me to fill the sunflower bowl, and generally demand I give them edible things. They even overwinter here now and have to contend with Sharp-shined and Cooper's Hawks hunting them in town. That's during the day. At night they struggle to survive Barn and other owls that take over for hawks. Their lot isn't easy, so how is it they have moved out of the Rio Grande Valley into the Pedernales Valley and well beyond?

Are White-winged doves the only endemic species that has moved north in recent years? How about armadillos. In the late 19th century, they moved into Texas where we take them for granted. When I was a kid growing up in southern Mississippi, we didn't see Armadillos outside Texas. When we moved to Louisiana in my sixth grade of school, they had moved into southwestern Louisiana. I caught a few and kept them for pets for a while, discovered all the babies were the same sex and they couldn't see very well. I let them go because, well, they just don't make that great of a buddy. Plus, the buck like a bucking bronco! And if you're not careful, their bucking can hurt you. But the really interesting fact is that they are still moving north.

http://www.outdoornews.com/2016/04/04/siu-professor-looking-at-armadillos-movement-north/

It's interesting to speculate that this advance of Armadillos can be linked to Global Climate Change. I believe that is the best explanation, and we know other species are following suit. No doubt there are other factors as well - obviously, there is a ecological niche for an ant eating critter, and there aren't many better than Armadillos.

Got any ideas yourself about why species are moving north out of Mexico and Central America not due to human transport? I'll add that Cattle Egrets arrived in the North America after 1952, probably as a result of tropical storms instead of global climate change, but then again, GCC may be responsible for larger storms that carry birds far from their original range and would be a good candidate for rafting populations around the world.

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/cattle-egret

*https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/white-winged-dove/

Lähettänyt billarbon billarbon, 1. lokakuuta 2017 21:04

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Vyötiäinen (Dasypus novemcinctus)

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billarbon

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Huhtikuu 21, 2017 03:45 AM CDT

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Can you hear me now? Can you see me now?

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Lehmähaikara (Bubulcus ibis)

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billarbon

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Huhtikuu 8, 2010 02:03 AM CDT

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Uncommonly seen Eurasian immigrant.

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Pilkkasiipikyyhky (Zenaida asiatica)

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billarbon

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Joulukuu 3, 2009 02:27 AM CST

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Pitkäpyrstöturpiaali (Quiscalus mexicanus)

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billarbon

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Syyskuu 3, 2010 06:21 AM CDT

Kuvaus

Evening flight to communal roost of grackles, starlings, and others. Here's an interesting observation from my mother. She was born and raised in Austin 92 years ago. She told me when she was a child, there were no grackles in Austin. There were in San Antonio and you would see them there when you visited like Franklin Roosevelt did when Mayor Maury Maverick and President Roosevelt opened the River Walk (a CCC New Deal program) in the 1930s.

Now when my wife and I moved to Johnson City from near Henly in 1980 (both of us originally Austinites), there were no grackles here. They did not arrive until the mid 1980s about the time invasive argentine fire ants arrived. Now, of course, both species are part of the landscape. What's obviously missing now is the annual plagues of crickets we experienced around central Texas before the arrival of fire ants where most downtowns and homes were invaded by hordes of crickets rubbing their legs and making their incessant mating songs. Are the three events related? What do you think. Is it even true that grackles weren't living in and around Austin in the 1930s. What do your parents and grand parents remember?

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