Lawns contribute to climate change. When most people think of climate change, they think of higher temperatures, melting ice caps, and rising sea levels. Global warming also causes other problems that are not talked about as much.
In addition to driving temperatures up, global warming changes precipitation patterns. Because warming causes air and moisture to circulate around the globe differently, more rain is brought to some areas, while other areas are left drier than normal. Wisconsin’s annual precipitation is expected to remain about the same over the coming decades. However, instead of arriving in the form of frequent rainy days, it is likely to be concentrated into occasional downpours. This means that Wisconsin will experience long dry periods punctuated by flooding.
Higher temperatures bring higher crime rates. While cold weather lowers crime by keeping people indoors, hot weather increases opportunities for crime. Studies suggest that heat also contributes to aggression, making people more likely to commit a crime. This holds true even for people who are used to hot weather.
Changing climate allows insects like mosquitoes to move from traditionally-hot places to newly-warm areas, bringing tropical diseases with them. West Nile virus has already spread all the way to Canada. Other tropical diseases, like malaria and dengue fever, are beginning to arrive in the United States.
Anything we can do to slow climate change will help prevent these negative changes in our community.
We usually think of birds going south for the winter, but as far as Dark-eyed Juncos are concerned, Wisconsin is south. These birds spend their summers far up in Canada; the rest of the time they can be found all across the United States. Snow doesn’t bother them at all!
Juncos are not a new species in That Yard, but today marked their first appearance this season.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is another migratory visitor to Wisconsin.
At only four inches long, it is one of our tiniest birds. It is not hard to spot, though, due to its loud song, quick movements, and fearless personality.
Having a natural yard is a different lifestyle from having a lawn. While it may not be the right choice for everyone, it can be the source of a lot of enjoyment.
When you have a natural yard…
- A hawk swoops into your tree while you are eating dinner.
- A mother rabbit plays with her baby right outside your window.
- It is not unusual to look outside and see a dozen animals moving around.
- Because the scene is always changing, you find yourself looking out your window as though you have never seen that view before.
- You find yourself using the yard as an extra living room.
- While you are doing so, birds and chipmunks come within feet of you.
- Your dinner table features foods that were harvested minutes ago.
- You can go on vacation without worrying about who will take care of the yard, because it takes care of itself.
- Rain and snow become gifts.
- So do fallen leaves. Money does grow on trees.
Yellow-rumped Warblers don’t live in southern Wisconsin, but one used That Yard as a migration stop this afternoon.
It’s been a good week for birding!