Washington Post interviews McDonough MacKenzie in article about her research on bird arrivals
The Washington Post interviewed Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, for an article about her research on bird arrivals in Maine. The arrival dates of migratory birds in Maine may not be shifting fast enough to keep up with earlier leaf-out and flowering induced by a warming climate, according to a new paper by McDonough MacKenzie. She compared information from mid-1900s nature-based journal notes by L.S. Quackenbush with temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to the article. The average date of leaf-out advanced 2.3 days for each degree Celsius increase in April temperature, McDonough MacKenzie found. She was first introduced to Quackenbush’s notes as a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University. “I started looking through it, and it was just amazing. A treasure trove,” she said. She also compared that data to 20 years of recent observations by birder Bill Sheehan. “We can see very clearly that leaf-out and flowering are correlated to April temperatures, but migratory bird arrivals are not,” McDonough MacKenzie said. “That’s where we have this potential mismatch. Adding in more data today will help us figure out if this is an ongoing trend.” SFGate published the Washington Post article.