KXAN Earth Week: Wildlife

Weather

As the planet continues to warm at an alarming rate, weather extremes are getting more frequent. Droughts and floods are getting more intense, and even our temperatures are fluctuating more drastically.

If you think wild weather swings are tough on you, imagine what it’s like for our Central Texas critters.

Birds like the already rare Golden-cheeked Warbler is already showing signs of migrating away from our region. This is because a warming ecosystem is affecting the Warbler’s ability to find food as warmer temperatures and drought limit the growth of their prime resource for food: Juniper trees.

Making matters worse… Esteemed climatologist, Katharine Hayhoe’s study projects temperatures across Central to increase by about 5 to 10 degrees – on average – by the end of the century.

Love them, or hate them, our bat populations are vital to our Central Texas ecosystems.

They’re also likely to be affected by climate change due to their need for large insect populations.

In a study done by the Upper Columbian Basin Inventory and Monitoring Network, bats also require large bodies of water to drink from every night, especially females who are nursing.

With more droughts expected in the decades to come, water will be harder to come by, forcing bats to migrate to areas with water. This in turn could increase our bug problems, with no bats around to feed on them.

One way to help our Central Texas wildlife would be to invest in lawns and landscapes that require little to no water, such as xeriscape. There are many plants that bloom and look beautiful all summer even in high heat with little water… conserving that resource for our wildlife.

Additionally, birds, deer and snakes are more active in the warmer months, sometimes leaving their offspring unattended. Texas Parks and Wildlife highly advises you not interfere with any wild animals, even if your intentions are to help. These interactions are not only unnecessary, but can be harmful to the wildlife.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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