As a scientist, I don’t have much patience for global warming “skeptics”. The science, like most science, has uncertainties, but there’s no doubt that 1) the climate is warming overall, and 2) man is to blame. I do get a little upset though with news stories that attribute specific events to climate change. For example, overall, yes, models indicate there will be increased frequency of severe weather events, but it’s hard to specifically attribute the current California drought or an individual hurricane to climate change.
With that said…for people who have been in the same geographic area for decades, I would imagine there are many astute folks who have noticed changes in the climate, be it more precipitation, an earlier spring, or milder winters. For us here in South Dakota? There are CLEAR signs of global warming. In fact, the climate has warmed so much here, that Australian bird species are setting up shop in the state.
This photo is of a Budgerigard (“Budgie”) hanging out on a fence post. This is just east of Brandon, the town where I live, near Beaver Creek Nature Area. I had to do a double-take when I saw him, but it’s hard to miss that bright green color that no other bird around here comes close to matching. This was at a small rural home, where the Budgie was hanging out with a bunch of House Sparrows.
An escapee? Or a sign of climate change? CLEARLY it’s the latter. It’s only a matter of time before other Australia species begin showing up in South Dakota. Koalas munching on invasive Eucalyptus trees on the plains? Kangaroos hopping around the Black Hills? Dingos prowling through city streets? THIS is the future we face as South Dakotans, thanks to climate change. The budgie sighting is just the beginning…