The other night, a bat started flying up against our bedroom window — not so much smashing into the window like a bird would, but smushing up against the window like a moth does when seeking the light. But this was no moth! It happened about 8 times. We were quite stupefied. Even without getting all "woowoo" about this event as a possible message or portent, it simply didn't seem right.
For the next two days, bats kept getting mentioned in books and articles or conversations. "Okay, okay, I get the message."
So, it turns out that Canada has just experienced the warmest and driest winter (well, it ain't quite over yet) since nationwide records were first kept in 1948. (Sorry all you eastern Yanks who thought the whole rest of the world must have been blanketed in white along with you!) In parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, precipitation has been 60 per cent below normal. (Reported here in the Ottawa Citizen of March 9, 2010.)
The article, by Margaret Munro, doesn't use the terms global warming, climate change per se, but the armchair deniers were out in full force anyway, denying any link to global warming or climate change. But the warning is clear:
"It's beyond shocking," David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told Canwest News Tuesday. Records have been shattered from "coast to coast to coast."
"It is truly a remarkable situation," says Phillips, noting that he's seen nothing like it in his 40 years of weather watching. He also warns that "the winter that wasn't" may have set the stage for potentially "horrific" water shortages, insect infestations and wildfires this summer.Then I looked up bats. Seems they wake up in April. It's still early March. If I were a bat, I'd be knocking at somebody's window, too.
Check out this 7 March 2008 article by Brian Nearing in the Times Union, Bat deaths linked to climate change. According to renegade wildlife pathologist, Ward Stone:
"... [B]ats are dying from starvation and weakened immune systems resulting from the unusually warm late fall and winters during the last several years, which has kept bats flying even when fewer insects are available to eat.
"That has led bats to begin hibernation with insufficient fat reserves, prompting them to starve and sometimes leave the safety of caves in search of food during cold weather, which is usually fatal."