Becky commented: "Nancy - Do you think the warmer weather is bringing some of the birds back a little earlier? I know the length of daylight is a main factor, but could the weather also bring some early birds to Louisiana?
Still seeing adult male RTH here. Saw two today! Still guarding their respective feeders. They always make me smile when I see them. happy.gif
Don't you just love those returnees! Sounds like you are off to a good start for Spring! I will be looking for your posts here on this thread. I always enjoy what you and Kevin post about your banding adventures! And I am really interested to hear about any and all returnees. I hope you see many returnees throughout this year!"
NLN: People are always trying to make correlations between weather events and weather trends and other natural phenomena, but I just don't see it a lot of the time. Trees may be leafing out early and there may be some unseasonal flowers because the lack of a hard freeze here in southern Louisiana, but a hard freeze can be a single day event whereas the overall warmer winter is a trend that might affect things on a local basis. I just don't see how birds that have been 500+ miles south of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico could possibly know what the weather conditions are.
We always hope for a good season. The start this year seems about average. Next week might be more telling. We don't expect a lot of returnees because we have not had high numbers of breeding season Ruby-throateds since Hurricane Katrina. Katrina probably didn't directly impact our breeding population because they had pretty much departed by the time the storm hit. However, the subdivision where our site is located was badly damaged. More than 200 homes were destroyed, mostly by falling trees. And in the clean-up process, many, many more trees were removed preemptively. Additionally, a new subdivision was developed next to the one in which we work, so a whole lot of habitat was destroyed. Lost habitat ain't coming back.
Nancy L Newfield
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9