With an international team of researchers, I led a study using eBird observations to examine how well birds are keeping up with the timing of Spring green-up. eBirders are familiar with BirdCast migration forecasts and know that migration timing is linked to the weather from year to year. Of course, it’s not just the weather that birds are concerned about: birds are hungry after their long migratory flights! The timing of green-up is critical for birds because when the trees leaf out, caterpillars emerge to feed on the young leaves, an important source of protein that contributes to survival and reproduction. Arriving at the optimal time is vital: birds must arrive late enough to avoid frigid conditions but early enough in time to catch the spring pulse in food and establish nest sites and territories.
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