Hunting guide’s aging journals point to changing climate

Spring is coming earlier to northern Maine, but migrating birds may not be keeping up. ©Nick Pipitone

L.S. Quackenbush made a living guiding hunters in northern Maine in the 1940s and ’50s, but the meticulous journals he kept are telling biologists something about wildlife in the region today. A recent paper by the University of Maine’s Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie compares Quackenbush’s journals on flora and fauna to recent observations. The findings suggest bird arrivals may not be keeping up with plants producing flowers and leaves earlier due to a warming climate. Similar studies have looked at journals left by naturalist Henry David Thoreau and wildlife biologist Aldo Leopold.

“We feel really safe to say that Quackenbush’s observations add to the story that flowering times and tree leaf-out times and bird migration times are all changing,” Abe Miller-Rushing, science director for Acadia National Park, told the Washington Post.

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