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Studying the Mysteries of Migration

There are still many questions about bird migration, including how it’s affected by climate

Millions of birds make their way through the San Francisco Bay Area on the way north to their breeding grounds every spring. Many shorebirds and waterfowl have already left, and now waves of songbirds are passing through. As well-watched as birds are, there are still a lot of things scientists don’t know about migration, including precisely where different species go each summer and winter, and what exactly triggers them to get going. Since so many birds pass through here, the Bay Area is a good place to try and sort out some of the questions, and to try to tackle another: how does climate change affect birds?

The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, a non-profit science and conservation organization, has been monitoring birds here for 30 years. The information collected through its bird banding program, has helped reveal some of the likely effects of climate change on birds. For example, a paper released last year suggests that climate change is making some species larger.
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After Dry ‘Rainy Season,’ California Faces High Wildfire Risks

Exceptionally dry conditions this winter have heightened the risk of summer wildfires

By Alyson Kenward

Craig Miller/KQED

Dry conditions in California during most of this winter have left many areas parched and vulnerable to ignition from both human and natural causes.

In California, May typically marks the beginning of a warm and dry summer season. This year, however, things are different. Not only has it been warm and dry for the past couple weeks; it’s been warm and dry for months. So dry, in fact, that officials are warning the risk of wildfires across much of the state is going to be much worse than usual, for several months to come.

According to their most recent outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center predicts that large parts of southern and central California, along with forests throughout the Sierra Nevada, are likely to see more wildfires than normal, particularly later this summer.

“A big chunk of the state is looking at above-average wildfire risk,” said Rob Krohn, a meteorologist with the U.S. Forestry Service’s Predictive Services Branch in Riverside. According to Krohn, the exceptionally dry conditions in California during most of this winter have left many areas parched and vulnerable to ignition from both human and natural causes.
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